The concept of justice can take many forms, and it can be related to the environmental practices adopted by the government and companies. This issue can be better illustrated by looking at the development of transportation projects that can be evaluated from ecological and economic perspectives. In many cases, they were built in low-income and minority communities that had fewer resources for mounting lawsuits and protests in response to the decisions of governmental agencies. This is the main thesis that should be explored in greater detail.
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Admittedly, it is possible to say that transportation projects can bring enormous benefits to various stakeholders such as businesses and people who seek employment. Nevertheless, minority and low-income communities have to face such consequences as air pollution, rising levels of noise, and dilapidation of many areas that can disrupted by highways (Jarrett, 2000, p. 148). These are some of the challenges that should be taken into consideration. Additionally, it is important to mention that some suburban neighborhoods were more likely to benefit from infrastructural projects if they inhabited mostly by white people (Marcantonio & Brenman, 2014). This trend was particularly widespread in the fifties, sixties, and seventies (Jarrett, 2000). One should keep in mind that these infrastructural projects were critical for the economic sustainability of many suburban communities since they helped many residents get to their jobs. Nevertheless, many minority and low-income communities were displaced. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about West Oakland which is more exposed to air pollution (Marcantonio & Brenman, 2014). Furthermore, this infrastructural project did not create many employment opportunities for the residents of this neighborhood. Thus, one can say that they were disadvantaged.
It is important to mention that the planning decisions regarding the transportation system can influence the economic development of the community (Anyon, 2014, p. 94). One should keep in mind that businesses are not likely to operate in a neighborhood that does not have a well-developed transportation infrastructure. Public administrators normally take into account this issue while developing their planning policies. In many cases, the decisions of governmental officials do not reflect the economic needs of communities that could be discriminated in the past. For instance, one can speak about African Americans. This is one of the problems that should not be overlooked.
Furthermore, it is important to speak about the practice of eminent domain which can be defined as the compulsory purchase of land and private property that can be required by local or federal governments for infrastructural projects (Merriam & Ross, 2006, p. 173). According to this policy, an individual should receive the reimbursement for the property that was taken from his/her. Admittedly, in many cases, such a practice can be vital for the economic growth of the community. Nevertheless, in many cases, the compensation received by these people was much lower than the market value of their land and property. As a result, the socio-economic status of these people declined significantly. This is another risk that should not be overlooked by policy-makers.
Transportation projects are more likely to affect the groups of people who have fewer resources for protecting their interests in the court. These groups can be marked by such criteria as race, ethnicity or income level. In other words, one can speak about people who are marginalized due to some reasons. Furthermore, in the past, mass media did not pay much attention to the problems of these people. This situation could be observed even after the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These are some of the points that should be considered.
Overall, it is important to consider a set of factors while implementing infrastructural projects. At first, it is critical to focus on the amount of compensation that a people will receive provided that eminent domain has to be practices. Additionally, it is important to consider the environmental impacts of transportation projects. Much attention should be paid to the level noise and pollution. Provided that there is a risk to the life and health of many people, a project may be discontinued. Additionally, it is critical to consider the economic effects of transportation projects. They should not only disrupt the unity of the community. They should contribute to the creation of employment opportunities in low-income and minority communities (Hartman, 2014). In other words, one should make sure that the residents of these neighborhoods should be the benefactors of these projects. These precautions are important for improving their environmental and economic impacts.
On the whole, this discussion indicates that the development of infrastructural projects is more likely to infringe the interests of minority and low-income communities. Admittedly, these developments are supposed to create many opportunities for different stakeholders, especially those individuals who seek employment. Nevertheless, it is essential to make sure that minority and low-income groups are exposed to a variety of environmental risks such as pollution. Furthermore, the benefits of such projects should be equally distributed. These are the main aspects that should be distinguished.
Anyon, J. (2014). Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education, and A New Social Movement. New York, NY: Routledge.
Hartman, C. (2014). America’s Growing Inequality: The Impact of Poverty and Race. New York, NY: Lexington Books.
Jarrett, A. (2000). The Impact of Macro Social Systems on Ethnic Minorities in the United States. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Merriam, D., & Ross, M. (2006). Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context. New York, NY: American Bar Association.
Marcantonio, R., & Brenman, M. (2014). Lessons from the history of transportation justice. Web.