Assessing Environmental Justice in Georgia using Geographic Information Systems

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Abstract Summary

Environmental Justice (EJ) highlights the unbalanced exposure to environmental hazards vs environmental amenities or benefits. It is important to include social and economic issues in environmental research. In this project, spatial accessibility measured by GIS is used as an indicator of environmental inequities for all counties of Georgia. EJ is measured by an environmental impact index, which is defined as the difference between the accessibility to green area (e.g. parks, natural reserves) in a region, and the hazard impact index, which measures possible exposure to hazards. Large values of Environmental Impact Index, indicate that the population of a region have access to green areas while not being exposed to hazard zones. Areas with low accessibility to green spaces and high exposure to hazard zones will have very low values of Ei. This is an ongoing project. Results will be presented for the Atlanta metropolitan area, where the accessibility to green areas, ranged from 0 to 72 m2/person; the exposure to hazard areas, ranged from 0 to 53 m2/person; and the environmental impact index ranged from -37 to 45. There is an unequal distribution of environmental benefits and burdens in the Atlanta metro area.

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