Dr. David Bennett
Participation year
Project title

Environmental Justice Factors and Change in Los Angeles County, California


This research aims to add perspectives in which to study environmental justice, originally seen a community’s disproportionate exposure to environmental contamination by polluting facilities due to a factor of race— thus being discriminatory. We base our research on an earlier case study done by Tom Boer, and colleagues in 1997 that explored environmental racism and the demographics of hazardous waste in Los Angeles County, CA. Using ArcGIS tools and overlaying facilities locations to demographic data at the tract level, their statistical analysis suggests that race is a significant factor to environmental injustice. My research adds railways as a possible factor for facility siting, and demographic factors, such as educational attainment to analyze the degree of environmental justice change in the county. Preliminary results show a strong correlation between main rails and facility placement, and this work also indicates that census tracts that contain such facilities are predominately of minority population. After conducting the study using 1990 census data, the process is repeated for LA County using data from the 2000 census to test for change in environmental justice factors. This research and statistical analysis is not yet completed, but expected results are that as community education attainment increases, opposition to polluting facilities also increases, and thus may result in environmental justice change in the future. This work suggests that while race may be a determinant of environmental injustice in a community, other sociodemographic change such as education attainment may help communities overcome disproportionate environmental risk.

Cristina  Munoz
Bryn Mawr