Environmental Democracy: An Analysis of Brownfields PolicymakingEPA Grant Number: U915201
Title: Environmental Democracy: An Analysis of Brownfields Policymaking
Investigators: Zeitler, Amy A.
Institution: Purdue University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Urban and Land Use Planning , Academic Fellowships , Economics and Decision Sciences
The objective of this research project is to compare and contrast strong democracy's normative ideals with an empirical analysis of brownfields policymaking. This research explores how process inclusiveness and issue framing shape struggles over values that determine policy agendas and constrain the possible alternatives for remedying social and environmental problems.
I use three central concepts to explore how policy actors influence public decisionmaking: (1) participation, (2) framing, and (3) policy design. Participation refers to people attending policy-related functions, asking questions, offering thoughts and opinions, and generally engaging in the social elements of public policymaking. Framing describes individual perceptions of the values and goals that public policies should reflect. Policy design translates voices and values into actions and strategies. By focusing on particular elements of a policy problem, designs reflect which values, concerns, and perspectives were deemed acceptable and appropriate and whose voices were influential. Each of these concepts appears separately in the literature. I combine them to build an empirically testable theory of environmental democracy that I apply to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Northwest Indiana CitiesBrownfields Redevelopment Project (NIBRP). I use discourse and content analysis to evaluate data collected through indepth interviews, participant observation, and NIBRP-related documents (the project’s original application materials, work plans, public meeting notes, position papers, fact sheets, newsletters, newspaper articles, internal memos, annual reports, meeting minutes, workshop handouts, and press releases).