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How to Use Zoning Laws to Reduce Pollution in Low-Income Communities

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A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station.

Just as it is now, Fifth Avenue has long been home to expensive shops drawing not only wealthy New Yorkers, but moneyed visitors. In 1916, when the shop merchants in the Fifth Avenue Association voiced concerns about congestion and declining land values affecting their profits, New York City introduced zoning as a legal apparatus. It was a new concept.

The merchants felt that their land values would be affected by the tall skyscrapers being built near Fifth Avenue to house the garment industry. And they didn’t want the people working in the garment industry to mix with their wealthy shoppers. Zoning’s beginnings had a lot to do with the exclusion of low-income people from certain areas of the city, and, in the intervening century, zoning has continued to be used to confine low-income people and people of color to particular areas of a city.

Environmental hazards like hazardous waste facilities, fossil fuel storage and transportation sites, and other polluting industrial facilities are disproportionally located in communities of color and low-income communities. But a new report from The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center shows how tools to enact environmental justice can come from the toolbox of injustice.





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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !