Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-24-2013


Starting with the publication in 1987 of the United Church of Christ Racial Justice Commission Report "Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States," environmental justice research addresses the geospatial relation between environmental hazards and the social characteristics of the communities hosting toxic sites. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allows environmental justice researchers to consider questions involving public policy, health effects, risk analysis, and more nuanced considerations of race, income, and injustice. This project is an analysis of environmental justice in two counties in northwest Indiana: Lake County, which contains the city of Gary; and Porter County, an adjacent county with no major cities. I investigated the relationship between environmental hazards and wealth in these two counties. I addressed this question by using GIS to map population block data from the 2010 U.S. Census (using housing values, median income, and county revenue as indicators of wealth) against the locations of toxic release facilities from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). I developed a set of maps showing the spatial relationship between TRI density and economic status.

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