Environmental inequality: Race, income, and industrial pollution in Detroit
AdvisorClemens, Elisabeth S.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractOver the last ten to fifteen years, an expanding body of research has sought to ascertain whether environmental hazards are distributed equitably according to race and income. While much attention has been paid to the relative ability of each of these variables to predict increased hazard levels, little attention has been paid to the forces giving rise to environmental inequality. This dissertation fills this gap by examining the forces giving rise to the current distribution of industrial pollution in the Detroit metropolitan area. The dissertation addresses three basic questions. First, is there a positive association between manufacturing facility presence and race in the Detroit area? In other words, are blacks more likely than whites to live near potentially hazardous manufacturing facilities? Second, has the distribution of whites and blacks around regional manufacturing facilities changed over time? Third, since it turns out that there is a positive association between facility presence and race in Detroit, why is this the case? Is the racially inequitable distribution of manufacturing facilities in Detroit due to (a) differences in black/white income levels, (b) racist siting practices, or (c) the biased operation of institutional arenas such as the housing market? It turns out that the racially inequitable distribution of manufacturing facilities in the Detroit metropolitan area is not the result of black/white income inequality or racist siting practices. Instead, the distribution of blacks and whites around the region's manufacturing facilities is shaped by residential segregation. Thus, racial status and racism are important determinants of environmental stratification in the Detroit metropolitan area.
Degree ProgramGraduate College