Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity
- Finalist, 2008 Book of the Year, Association for Humanist Sociology
408 pp., 6 x 9 in, 13 illus.
- Published: January 12, 2007
- Published: January 19, 2007
The smart growth movement aims to combat urban and suburban sprawl by promoting livable communities based on pedestrian scale, diverse populations, and mixed land use. But, as this book documents, smart growth has largely failed to address issues of social equity and environmental justice. Smart growth sometimes results in gentrification and displacement of low- and moderate-income families in existing neighborhoods, or transportation policies that isolate low-income populations. Growing Smarter is one of the few books to view smart growth from an environmental justice perspective, examining the effect of the built environment on access to economic opportunity and quality of life in American cities and metropolitan regions.
The contributors to Growing Smarter—urban planners, sociologists, economists, educators, lawyers, health professionals, and environmentalists—all place equity at the center of their analyses of "place, space, and race." They consider such topics as the social and environmental effects of sprawl, the relationship between sprawl and concentrated poverty, and community-based regionalism that can link cities and suburbs. They examine specific cases that illustrate opportunities for integrating environmental justice concerns into smart growth efforts, including the dynamics of sprawl in a South Carolina county, the debate over the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and transportation-related pollution in Northern Manhattan. Growing Smarter illuminates the growing racial and class divisions in metropolitan areas today—and suggests workable strategies to address them.
An impressive group of authors have come together to link conversations, debates, theories, and political action around the movements for smart growth and environmental justice in particular, and around regional planning, economic justice, and sustainability in general. They are building on the work of a wide range of scholars, activists, policymakers, and political leaders, and they do an admirable job.
David Naguib Pellow, University of California, San Diego, author of Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago
In this pathbreaking collection multidisciplinary scholars probe critical aspects of racism and classism shaping urban quality-of-life, from suburban sprawl to environmental toxins and poverties in inner cities. Viewing metropolitan inequalities as intentional, these savvy analysts detai the deep impacts of racial/class discrimination on urban peoples and their built-up ecologies. They look beyond cliches of 'smart growth' to problematize build environments as social-jusitce issues not to be left to media pundits and politicians, but for concerned citizens to strategize around in generating coalitions for change.
Joe R. Feagin, Ella C. McFadden Professor of Liberal arts, Texas A&M University, Author of Systematic Racism
The essays in this collection are inspirational and important reading for smart growth advocates and others who want to change growth pattern and policies so that they create a better, fairer America.
Elizabeth Schilling, Former Executive Director, Growth Management Leadership Alliance