Defining the Environmental Justice Dilemma: a Case Study of Northern Manhattan

Date of Graduation

Summer 1999


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Dimitri Ioannides


Concerns regarding environmental quality and protection have become increasingly relevant within the environmental movement. Yet beyond the struggle for environmental quality and protection, exist the underlying issues of environmental inequity, racism, and classism as injustices for many predominately poor and minority communities across the United States. Furthermore, these communities' circumstances have resulted from purposeful or inadvertent neglect and the practice of national environmental policies as well as systematic victimization by government, legal, economic, political, and military institutions. These accusations regarding the disproportionate location of environmental hazards within minority and low-income communities have been well documented and substantiated by both private and government studies and reports. However, contemporary research concerning issue of environmental justice dilemma is often limited to race and income as the primary determinants of environmental injustice. A case study of the Northern Manhattan community helps to further interpret the environmental justice through a conceptual framework. Beyond race and income, other community characteristics and factors emerge which dramatically affect a community's struggle with environmental justice issues. This conceptual framework further enables the development of a community profile as well as defines the external factors influencing certain communities' struggles with environmental injustice. Ultimately, the conceptual framework will help communities, private businesses and corporations, planners, local and state government, and federal governmental agencies to identify potentially vulnerable communities or communities-at-risk to environmental injustice.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Tonya Gayle Blades