NATIONAL EQUITY AND SMART GROWTH INITIATIVE
As a follow-up to the EJRC's Suburban Sprawl Research Project and the Atlanta Transportation Equity Project, the center has undertaken a National Equity and Smart Growth Initiative. This national initiative is designed to explore social equity issues as smart growth solutions are sought to address transportation, air quality, land use, affordable housing, gentrification, predatory lending, concentrated poverty, access to jobs, redlining, schools, parks and green space, brownfields, community economic development, and related urban concerns.
One of the first products of the initiative is a policy paper entitled "Race, Equity and Smart Growth: Why People of Color Must Speak for Themselves." Our research indicates that sprawl has environmental consequences, i.e., increases traffic, pollutes the air, destroys forests and greens space, worsens flooding, and wastes energy. Sprawl also has social and economic consequences, i.e., exacerbates school crowding, heightens urban-suburban schools disparities, accelerates urban infrastructure decline, concentrates poverty, creates spatial mismatch between urban workers and suburban job centers, heightens racial and disparities, and negatively impacts public health.
The EJRC's Equity and Smart Growth Initiative is different from other national initiatives (where few people of color leaders are brought into the larger smart growth coalitions) in that it targets people of color groups, organizations, and leaders to build a national solidarity movement around issues of social equity and smart growth. The initiative has four broad objectives:
The EJRC researchers have produced several award-winning books and monographs that address the various dimensions of race, equity, and smart growth, including housing and residential patterns, transportation equity, environmental justice, urban and regional planning, and community organizing.
Housing and Residential Patterns. R.D. Bullard, J.E. Grigsby, III, and C. Lee, Residential Apartheid: The American Legacy. UCLA,1994. This anthology includes chapters written mostly by people of color housing experts. The contributors tackle some hard issues such as racial segregation, discrimination, redlining, community reinvestment, and enterprise zones.
Transportation Equity. R.D. Bullard and G.S. Johnson, Just Transportation: Dismantling Race and Class Barriers to Mobility. New Society Publishers, 1997. Transportation is implicated in much of the suburban sprawl and smart growth debate. This book (along with a 45-minute video by the same title) documents some important transportation equity and transit racism cases.
Environmental Justice. R.D. Bullard, Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color. Sierra Club Books, 1996. This books documents that all communities are not created equal. If a community happens to be poor, working class, or populated largely by people of color, its receives less protection.
Urban and Regional Planning. R.D. Bullard, G.S. Johnson, and A.O. Torres, Sprawl City: Race, Politics, and Planning in Atlanta. Island Press, 2000. Atlanta is the "poster child" for sprawl. This book takes a fresh look at how sprawl is contributing to racial and economic disparities in the ten-county Atlanta metropolitan region.
Community Organizing. R.D. Bullard, People of Color Environmental Groups Directory 2000. Flint, MI: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, 2000. Much of the smart growth dialogue involves issues related to grassroots leadership and community organization. This report shatters the myth that people of color are not concerned about or involved in environmental and economic issues. It also profiles the important work of people of color groups and community leaders-emphasizing the principle that "people must speak for and do for themselves."
Transportation Racism. R.D. Bullard, G.S. Johnson, and A.O. Torres. Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism & New Routes to Equity. South End Press, 2004. The book illustrates that over a century since the Plessy v. Ferguson U.S. Supreme Court decision codified "Jim Crow" and five decades after Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott ushered in the modern civil rights movement, African Americans and other people of color must still struggle to end transportation racism, linking the destructive paths of roads, discriminatory spending, and unequal treatment on trains, buses, and highways with violation of constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.