Fair and Healthy Land Use: Environmental Justice and Planning

PAS Report 549/550

By Craig Arnold

Product Image

APA member & PAS subscriber
List Price
Sign In & Download

Not a member but want to buy a copy? You'll need to create a free My APA account to purchase. Create account

Lawsuits challenging the disproportionate effects of government decisions on low-income and minority communities are on the rise. Studies show that low-income families and racial minorities are more likely to suffer from health issues related to pollution. Grassroots environmental justice groups are increasingly fighting the siting of Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) in low-income and minority communities.

The principles these groups adopt are good planning principles: that no person or neighborhood should be burdened by harmful environmental conditions and that all persons should have the opportunity for meaningful participation in the decisions affecting the health, safety, and identity of their community.

This report from APA's Planning Advisory Service explains how the principles of environmental justice can be incorporated into land-use planning processes.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Nov. 8, 2007
Adobe PDF
APA Planning Advisory Service

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Environmental Justice: What Is It?
What Is the “Environment” in Environmental Justice?
What Is the “Justice” in Environmental Justice?
Are There Disparities? Why Do They Exist?
What Impact Does Environmental Justice Have on Public Policy and Law?

Chapter 2. Environmental Justice and Land Use
The Promise and Failure of Planning
Empirical Evidence of Disparities in Land-Use Patterns
Rediscovering the Promise of Planning in Order to Promote Environmental Justice

Chapter 3. Comprehensive Planning and Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice Planning Principles
Environmental Justice and Smart Growth
Area-Specific Planning in and by Low-Income Minority Communities
Starting to Plan: Doing an Environmental Justice Audit
Specific Environmental Justice Planning Issues

Chapter 4. Regulatory Tools
An Environmental Justice Zoning Strategy: Getting Started
Zoning Amendments
Advanced Zoning Techniques
Discretionary Permitting and Conditional Land-Use Approvals
Standards for the Grant or Denial of Discretionary Permits
Exactions and Impact Fees (Thinking Beyond Streets and Schools)
A Case Study: The Use of Overlay Zones and Rezoning, Austin, Texas

Chapter 5. Community Participation
What Is Necessary
Neighborhood-Based Planning
Conflict Avoidance or Resolution

Chapter 6. The Environmental Impact Assessment as a Tool for Implementing Environmental Justice
When Is Environmental Impact Assessment Appropriate?
Types of Impacts to Assess
Systematic Process

Chapter 7. Community Infrastructure, Housing, Redevelopment, and Brownfields
Distributional Equity and Accessibility
Community Capacity and Vitality
Prevention of Health Risks and Promotion of Good Health
Public Participation
Conversion of Underperforming Assets into Performing Assets
Policy Integration and Coordination
Community Infrastructure

Chapter 8. Constraints to Incorporating Environmental Justice Principles in Land-Use Plans and Controls
Judicial Protections of Private Property Rights
State Preemption of Local Nimbyism
Politics and Participation


Appendix A. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

Appendix B. Summaries of the American Planning Association’s Policy Guide Provisions Relating to Environmental Justice

List of References