Identification of Environmental Justice Areas Through the Application of Local Area Statistics

EPA Grant Number: F5C71280
Title: Identification of Environmental Justice Areas Through the Application of Local Area Statistics
Investigators: Porter, Michael
Institution: City University of New York
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through September 1, 2007
Project Amount: $89,142
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


Environmental justice is broadly defined as the disproportionate exposure of minority and low-income populations to poor environmental conditions. In recent years, addressing environmental justice concerns has become a policy priority. On the federal level, Executive Order 12898 mandates executive agencies to devise environmental justice strategies. Over 30 states have also issued executive orders or passed legislation to ameliorate the problem. In addition, environmental justice concerns have surfaced in both court cases and local government actions. In all of the above contexts it is important to not only address whether potentially toxic land uses are consistently located in poor and minority communities, but to also identify which minority and/or low-income communities face disproportionate environmental risk. While there is a great deal of research debating the proper methods for the former, the latter needs have not been addressed in the academic literature. The research project is to develop and implement methods for identifying potential environmental justice areas.

Environmental justice communities are low-income and minority communities that suffer from disproportionate exposure to potentially hazardous land uses. The objective of the research project is to develop methods used to identify environmental justice communities that can be applied in the implementation of environmental justice policy.


The above methods will employ local area statistics. Local area statistics are measures designed to characterize spatial non-stationarity, or how indices or relationships may vary over space. Although, local area statistics can be used for inference, the focus of this project will be to implement these measures in the context of geographic information systems (GIS) for exploratory spatial data analysis.

Expected Results:

It is expected that, when properly applied, local area statistics will provide important guidance in identifying environmental justice areas and facilitate the implementation of environmental justice policies.

Supplemental Keywords:

Environmental Justice, Local Area Statistics, GIS, Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis,, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, environmental justice, decision-making, Environmental Statistics, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, Environmental Law, environmental decision making, decision making, statistical analysis, economic issues, geographic location, environmental policy, demographics, GIS, statistics, environmental justice assessment, legal and policy choices

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • Final