Reversing the legacy of redlining: Reducing exposure to toxins and pollutants through land use law reform

Read the full post at GreenLaw.

The disinvestment in lower-income neighborhoods caused by redlining, racial covenants, and zoning provisions prevented property improvement, resulted in dilapidated buildings, lowered real estate prices fueling development of manufacturing and industrial uses, and lowered the cost of polluting infrastructure, such as highways and public works facilities. The legacy of these effects is the exposure of the residents of such neighborhoods to toxins and pollution not found in moderate- or higher-income residential neighborhoods. (See Segregation by Law and the Racial Inequity Pandemic, this paper, and this study). For example, Black Americans are 75% more likely to live in communities where they are exposed to soil, air, and water pollution and experience a higher risk of cancer, asthma, and other life-threatening illnesses.

Using their state-delegated land use regulatory authority, local governments can reverse this historical trend.

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