Scales of environmental justice: Combining GIS and spatial analysis for toxics in West Oakland, California


Jeff Romm, Joshua Fisher, Maggi Kelly


air toxics, California, corrective justice, environmental justice, environmental justice site, environmental protection agency (EPA), geographic information systems (GIS), non-point diesel emissions, point pattern analysis, urban, West Oakland


Health & Place

Year Published:


Policy Summary

A combination of three factors contributed to Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) classification of the community of West Oakland (California) as a environmental justice site. First, the community mobilzed and called on the EPA to examine the air pollution in West Oakland. Second, researchers determined through GIS mapping that there was an unusually high number of pollution point sources. Third, West Oakland has a high prescence of low and minority income people. This research quantified questions of scale in environmental justice. The authors noted the importance of running their GIS and other methods at the local level, because important problems emerge at that scale that can be lost in larger statewide datasets and analysis. The authors call on the EPA to run more local level statistical analysis so that environmental justice sites are discovered more promptly to allow for swifter corrective justice for those communities.

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