Low income communities of color have long struggled with racist land use practices that diminish their health, safety and quality of life.
Residential communities have been opened up for industrial development, low-income housing has been located next to freeways and toxic polluters, and new freeway development and truck routes have been targeted to low-income communities. At the root of this all-too-common pattern are discriminatory land use regulations, such as zoning, that do not protect the community's health.
The way our communities are planned – or are allowed to degrade because of a lack of planning – determines the levels of air pollution, the concentration of toxic industries, traffic patterns, community services, recreational opportunities, and quality of housing. And no one is more entitled to determine the future of a community than the people who live there.
EHC's Social Change for Justice Model embodies this belief. By empowering our community members through leader development, organizing and advocacy, they can realize healthy communities, equality, and a clean environment and ultimately social and environmental justice.
EHC's primary focus for these efforts has been to empower environmental justice communities to direct planning and development processes that:
- build community power
- ensure healthy neighborhoods
- maintain and create affordable housing
- preserve community character and culture
- promote sustainable communities
Read more about community-directed land-use planning.
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