USP493 Session 5 Notes

Intro to Statistical Inference

  1. The difference between populations and samples
    1. Statistics and parameters
    2. Using probability sampling to induce population parameters
  2. How to sample
    1. Simple random sample
    2. Stratified samples
    3. Systematic samples
  3. Population, sample and sampling distributions
    1. Sampling distribution defined – the distribution of all possible samples of size n from a population
    2. Population, sample and sampling distribution means
      1. The standard error is the standard deviation of the sampling distribution
    3. Population, sample and sampling distribution standard deviations
  4. The central limit theorem – with a sufficiently large sample size (50 plus) the sampling distribution approaches a normal distribution
  5. Using sampling distributions
    1. The confidence interval
      1. Defined – estimating a population mean or proportion from the sample estimate
      2. The notion of a confidence level – risk of being wrong
      3. How sample size affects the confidence level
    2. Calculations
      1. Select the confidence level – usually 95 or 99
      2. Look up the z score corresponding to your chosen confidence level
      3. Calculate the standard error
      4. Multiple the standard error by the z score corresponding to your chosen confidence level
      5. Add and subtract the result from “iv” to your sample mean to get the confidence interval
  6. Using spss to construct confidence intervals
    1. The elements of a map
      1. GEODATABASE – a folder with the extension gbd that stores the related elements needed to make maps
      2. It stores the geographic references and the attribute data needed to create a map
      3. FEATURE CLASS – basically a layer. It includes attribute data and the relational locational aspects necessary to map it. (e.g. longitude and latitude
      4. BASEMAP –  collection of background geographic information and related features (e.g. streets) that serves as background to the map.
      5. Types of GIS MAPS
        1. Vector – consists of point line and polygos
        2. Raster – consists of cells (think of pixels) used to show e.g topography


Chapter 8 spss problem 1, chapter exercise problem 10

USP 515 Session 6 Notes

September 28th and 30th
Session Six: Unequal Protection from Harm
In this session we will examine the concepts of “unequal protection”, “environmental racism”, and environmental justice” in relation to theory, policy and practice. We will address the following questions:

  1. What do we learn from reading Lawrence Summer’s memo?
  2. Why is it important that people know about Lawrence Summer’s memo?
  3. What does David Harvey mean when he talks about an “environment of justice”?
  4. What did you learn from the readings about the relationship between place and health?
  5. What it meant by the concept “protection from harm”?
  6. Is it important for public officials to explicitly protect people from harm? Why or why not?
  7. What are the implications of not protecting people from harm?
  8. What are the implications of protecting some people and groups from harm more than others?


  1. GEP Memorandum – Summers
    1. The author claims that we should try to move dirty industries to poor countries because it’s cheaper to choose to endanger the public in poor countries.
    2. Polluters can get away with paying less wages in poor countries.
    3. Countries in Africa are “UNDER-polluted.”
      1. Therefore we should shift pollution from developed countries to balance out the lack of pollution in Africa.
    4. Only rich people care about the health risks of pollution.
    5. Response from a Brazilian official, “Your reasoning is perfectly logical but totally insane… Your thoughts [provide] a concrete example of the unbelievable alienation, reductionist thinking, social ruthlessness and the arrogant ignorance of many conventional ‘economists’ concerning the nature of the world we live in…. If the World Bank keeps you as vice president it will lose all credibility.”
  2. The Environment of Justice – Harvey
    1. First, we recap the previous memo and the response from Brazil which was mirror by other world leaders.
    2. “The Economist,” which Lenin called “A tabloid that speaks for British millionaires,” agreed with the Memo and its logic.
    3. Harvey characterizes the memo as an endorsement of “Toxic colonialism ” or the idea of leveraging the displacement and extermination of indigenous populations by adding toxic waste.
    4. Harvey touches on the fact that in the United States, the most reliable predictor of toxic waste dumps is the presence of communities of color, and indigenous communities.
    5. Harvey connects environmental justice to civil rights, and shows that many black groups in particular define environmental justice this way.
    6. There seems to be more to the conversation but the text ends here.
  3. Almost Everything You Need to Know About Environmental Justice — the United Church of Christ
    1. UCC claims to have founded the environmental justice movement
    2. UCC defines environmental racism as the siting of hazardous waste sites, landfills, incinerators, and polluting industries in ethnic and racial minority communities.
    3. They list the many common environmental issues
      1. The placing of hazardous and other noxious facilities
      2. Lead poisoning among children
      3. Asthma and other respiratory illnesses
      4. Unsafe, indecent, and exploitative workplace condition
      5. Cancer, birth defects, and developmental illnesses
      6. Pesticide poisoning of farm workers
      7. Contaminated sites and properties
      8. Transportation thoroughfares
      9. Congested and decaying housing conditions
      10. Lack of protection of spiritual grounds and indigenous habitats
      11. Pollution and lack of sound economic development
      12. Lack of access to quality health care
      13. Unequal enforcement of environmental laws
      14. Lack of people of color in the environmental professions
      15. Inadequate community participation in the decision-making process
    4. They list several major historical events
      1. 1982 Warren County, NC
      2. 1983 US General Accounting Office Report
      3. 1987 UCC Toxic Waste and Race in the United States Report
      4. 1990 Dana Alston publishes We Speak For Ourselves: Social Justice, Race, and the Environment
      5. 1990 Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality
      6. 1990 University of Michigan Symposium on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards
      7. 1991 First National POC Environmental Leadership Summit
      8. 1989 ATSDR Minority Health Initiative
      9. 1992 Establishment of EPA Office of Environmental Justice
      10. 1994 Federal Interagency Symposium on Health Research and Needs to Ensure Environmental Justice
      11. 1994 Environmental Justice Executive Order
      12. 1994 National Environmental Justice Advisory Counsel
    5. The collective and individual health of members of a community is the direct result of a set of physical, social, cultural and spiritual factors. The emphasis of looking into the importance of the comprehensive health and well being of a community was directly initiated by the Environmental Justice movement. The Environmental Justice movement represents a new vision created through a series of community processes whose main objective is a transformative public conversation about what is necessary for sustainable, healthy and vital communities. The Environmental Justice movement envisions the development of a community based, multi-task integrative paradigm that facilitates the unification, development and permanency of healthy and sustainable communities.
    6. War is another major contributor to environmental harms
    7. UCC gives a list of things individuals should do about environmental justice
      1. Talk to members of your church and others
        in the community
      2. Research all the facts
      3. Develop a good description of the problem
      4. Collect good documentation of issues and
      5. Consult with other communities with similar issues; don’t reinvent the wheel
      6. Select the most appropriate resource persons and organizations
      7. Identify government agencies who are supposed to help
      8. Clarify the legal, scientific and medical issues involved
      9. Hold community meetings to share information and strategize
      10. Prepare educational materials for your community
      11. Formulate an action plan
      12. Form partnerships with university, environmental, health and other groups
      13. Devise a media strategy
      14. Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed; you are the expert on your community
      15. Network with other environmental justice groups
    8. UCC gives a list of 17 guiding principles for environmental justice
      1. Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
      2. Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all people, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
      3. Environmental Justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
      4. Environmental Justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
      5. Environmental Justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples.
      6. Environmental Justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous waste, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current procedures are held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
      7. Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partner at every level of decision-making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
      8. Environmental Justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
      9.  Environmental Justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
      10. Environmental Justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
      11. Environmental Justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native People to the United States government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self determination.
      12. Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.
      13. Environmental Justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
      14. Environmental Justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations.
      15. Environmental Justice opposes military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, people and cultures, and other life forms.
      16. Environmental Justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.
      17. Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to insure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
    9. UCC concludes with a list of suggestions for the future including careers people should pursue in order to contribute to the cause of environmental justice.


USP 514 Session 6 Notes

Session 6: Sustainable Development for Whom?


  1. Development: Sustainable for Whom?, Franciscans Paper for United Nations
    1. Sustainable development often advertises itself as beneficial for everyone.
    2. In fact it’s usually not.
    3. The argument is that we need to expand the definition of sustainable development to include human rights and make sure not to intensify or exacerbate harms.
    4. There are a set of myths that undergird the idea that economic development is always positive
      1. People who live in subsistence economies are backwards and uncivilized
        1. This is the opposite of the truth
        2. Subsistence economies give people a lot more free time for art and family and enjoying life
  2. Green Economy – the Next Oxymoron
    1. Ulrich Brand is a German political scientist and a Professor of International Politics at the University of Vienna.
    2. Title of book was Planet Dialectics
      1. Dialectic: the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.
    3. Worldwide resource use is skyrocketing
    4. the concept of a green economy seems to promise an attractive orientation out of the crisis of neoliberalism that became manifest in 2008 and has hit vulnerable countries and social groups
    5. In reality, green economy is what the author calls a dialectic oxymoron meaning these ideas don’t fit together.
    6. De-growth: we need to consume less, instead of just consuming different things. It’s not about switching from Ford to Tesla; it’s about not having cars.
    7. UN Definition: The green economy approach seeks, in principle, to unite under a single banner the entire suite of economic policies and modes of economic analyses of relevance to sustainable development. In practice, this covers a rather broad range of literature and analysis, often with
      somewhat different starting points
    8. “Green growth” is the idea that there is some sustainable way of continuing everything we’ve been doing with tweaks.
    9. Problem diagnoses
      1. adjust prices to reflect the internalization of external costs, encourage sustainable consumption, and implement policies that promote the greening of business and markets more broadly;
      2. implement tax reforms that support environmentally friendly and sustainable practices;
      3. expand public support for sustainable, more energy efficient infrastructural development to conserve and boost natural capital;
      4. enhance research and development programs focused on green technologies (e. g., clean energy);
      5. target public investment to create programs and forge alliances that promote self-sufficient ecologically and socially-sound economic development, and
      6. implement policies that harmonize social goals with existing or future economic policies.
    10. Criticisms of green growth
      1. existing – and even slightly changed – political strategies
        including the orientation of national states towards global
        competitiveness and geopolitical interests as well as
        the promotion of free trade by powerful international
      2. economic institutions like the capitalist market and
        the profit-driven development of technologies which
        in principle do not promote sustainability;
      3. dominant societal orientations like growth at any cost and
        the increasing exploitation of nature; and
      4. power relations under the dominance of elites who aim to
        maintain their status.
  3. Environmental Justice and the Green Economy Report
    1. Examples
      1. Greening leads to gentrification
      2. Three gorges dam
      3. Water privatization
  4. Sustainability is not enough, Peter Marcuse 
    1. Sustainability is not enough
    2. It doesn’t work for everybody
    3. The science is coming from privileged perspectives
    4. It ignores marginalized perspectives
    5. It talks more about problems than solutions
    6. Poverty is not just about a lack of income
      1. It’s also about the things that prevent someone from getting an income: racism, classism, access to financial services, etc

Equitable Development: Social Equity by Design – 48 minutes

Other Notes

  • Why it is important to transition from a focus on “economic development” to a focus on “sustainable development”?
  • Can the transition from a focus on “economic development” to a focus on “sustainable development be accomplished through a “green economy”?
  • For sustainable development policies to be effective, must they take into account the specific needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations?
  • How do we prioritize the needs of vulnerable populations in sustainable development initiatives and policies?
  • Why is there such entrenched and persistent resistance to prioritizing the needs of vulnerable populations in practice?
  • Can the “green economy” address issues of social inequality and justice?
  • What are the social and cultural implications of Jeffrey Sachs proposing a rapid reduction in fertility rates as required for sustainable development, and with a particular focus on Africa?

USP 515 Session 5 Notes

Session Five: The Politics of Pollution

In this session we will discuss how decisions about the location and distribution of environmental benefits and hazards are made, under what institutional conditions these decision are made, who makes these decisions, and who benefits and does not benefit from these decisions. We will address the following questions:

  1. What do Davies and Davies mean when they use the term “politics of pollution’?
    1. Silent spring generation
      1. All the invisible pollution and chemicals that are piling up in the environment
      2. Made many predictions which came true from decrease in fertility to increase in allergies, etc.
    2. The central claim of this piece is that the interdisciplinary scientific study of pollution is not based on science. The standards used to study pollution are not scientific, they’re political. The standards are arbitrary.
      1. In Flint Michigan, the government just changed the official dangerous level of lead contamination to hide the danger the community was facing.
      2. How does the decision get made about what levels of pollution are harmful?
  2. Why did Bullard write an article extending the concept of the politics of pollution to the Black community specifically?
    1. Analysis of politics of pollution reveals that environmental injustice always results in marginalized communities bearing the brunt of the harms
      1. Systemic racism is the mechanism
  3. What do these articles help us understand about the relationship between income, race, and health?
    1. How do we deal with the politics of pollution
      1. Education – inform both impacted and non-impacted communities about the issues
      2. Engagement with impacted communities
      3. Representation – giving impacted communities power
      4. Reduce pollution
      5. Change the way we extract, distribute, manufacture, distribute, consume, waste services and goods.
      6. Producer responsibility
      7. We need leaders who come from impacted communities -> one claim of the Bullard article

Other Notes

  1. Gentrification is when privileged people come into a neighborhood and take resources like housing and food from marginalized people, leading to an increase in costs and a drop in access for marginalized people.
    1. This leads to a cultural changes through settler colonialism; displacing and exterminating populations and cultures.
      1. Alex Nieto: White dog walkers new to Burnal called the police on a person of color who grew up there and was eating a burrito. The police murdered him.
      2. White people complain about long-standing cultural aspects of neighborhoods like live music.
      3. White tech bros in the Mission demanding locking gates and reservation systems for the use of public parks.
      4. Essentially all public housing was eventually demolished. About 10% of it was replaced with nonprofit housing.
  2. Bottled water is unregulated.
    1. People in marginalized communities are more likely to drink bottled water and therefore be exposed to toxins in unregulated bottled water products

ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION FIVE (click on session 5 on left to access reading) 

  1. The Politics of Pollution — Davies and Davies
    1. Since a lower value is placed on marginalized communities, society chooses to move harms and risks there.
    2. Wealthy and powerful white communities are given priority with pollution mitigation efforts.
    3. Industry likewise disposes of wastes where it’s easiest and cheapest, disparately impacting marginalized communities with the externalities of toxic industrial biproducts.
  2. The Politics of Pollution: Implications for the Black Community — Bullard and Wright
    1. Historically the black community was very engaged with the civil rights movement at the time when the environmental movement was coalescing
    2. Ongoing segregation in cities plus the legacy of slavery and redlining has led to high concentrations of black populations in small areas in urban centers.
    3. Lots of evidence that marginalized urban communities are more likely to be exposed to environmental harms.
    4. Black communities have less power to make changes in cities because wealth and power are concentrated in the same white neighborhoods which consistently vote to move harms to black neighborhoods.
    5. Paradigm
      1. Science is not based on fact
      2. Science is based on interpretation by the most privileged members of society

USP 514 Session 5 Notes

Session 5: Equitable Sustainable Development

Apparently we are skipping this?



  1. Watch the video: The Costs of Inequality: Joseph Stiglitz, TEXxColumbiaSIPA (16 minutes)
  2. Answer the following questions in writing and be prepared to discuss them in class. 
  3. What are Stiglitz’s main points about inequality in the USA?
    1. The economic story of the early American steel town of Gary, Indiana parallels the economic story of the larger country.
    2. Concerns about inequality, poverty, and discrimination in Gary as a microcosm of the larger nation reflect our broader politics, economics, and morals as a nation.
    3. We pay a very high price for these and other social problems.
    4. These problems are getting worse, and the cost is getting higher.
      1. Income inequality
      2. Extreme wealth hoarding by a tiny number of people
      3. While wealth for the extremely-rich is growing dramatically, wealth for everyone else is actually going down.
    5. Incomes and wealth are going down for almost everyone, with only the very rich doing better than they were in the past.
    6. Rent-seekers seize a larger share of the pie rather than making the pie bigger.
      1. Predatory lending
      2. Credit cards
      3. Landlords
    7. America is not a land of opportunity
      1. Almost no one ends up any better off than they started out.
      2. In fact the opposite is true; almost everyone ends up worse off than where they started out.
    8. Students can not discharge their debt even through bankruptcy
      1. Rich parents can pay for school, including graduate school, while everyone else can not, and instead gets debt. This makes it harder for them to succeed both because they can not afford enough education, but also because they have to pay off debt while only being able to do a lower quality of work.
    9. Conservative economic publications like the economist agree with all these points about what the problem is.
  4. Why does Stiglitz conclude that inequality is endangering our future?
    1. Incomes and wealth are going down for almost everyone, with only the very rich doing better than they were in the past.
    2. We pay a high price for inequality, poverty, discrimination, and other social problems.
    3. Students can not discharge their debt even through bankruptcy
    4. Rich parents can pay for school, including graduate school, while everyone else can not, and instead gets debt. This makes it harder for them to succeed both because they can not afford enough education, but also because they have to pay off debt while only being able to do a lower quality of work.
      1. This is a generational issue which will continue to get worse.
  5. How does Stiglitz talk about what market forces around the world tell us about inequality in the United States?
    1. The same conditions do not exist elsewhere which suggests the problems we face are policy choices rather than inevitabilities.
  6. What are Stiglitz’s conclusions at the end of this talk?
    1. We have faced similar crises in the past and we chose to “pull back from the brink” which we can do once again.


USP493 Session 4 Notes


  1. Measures of Variability
    1. Index of Qualitative Variability – used for nominal data
    2. The range – used for interval data – simply the largest value minus the lowest value
      1. The interquartile range, the difference between the cutpoint where 25 percent of the cases have a larger values, and the cutpoint where 25 percent of the cases have a lower value
      2. The boxplot shows the range, the interquartile range and the median
    3. The variance and standard deviation, a measure of the amount scores cluster at the mean or spread out from the mean. Used for interval data. The variance is the average squared deviation of scores from the mean
      1. The standard deviation is calculated from the variance. You simply take the square root of the variance.
      2. The standard deviation is calculated from the variance. You simply take the square root of the variance.
  2. The normal curve
    1. Symmetric around the middle
    2. Mean, median and mode are the same
  3. The concept of Z scores
    1. Used to find area under the normal curve
    2. Equals the number of standard deviations any score is from the mean
      1. Calculations – subtract the mean from the score and divide by the standard deviation
      2. Finding the percent of cases – the same as the percent area – between any point and the mean
      3. Using the z table
      4. Going from percents to z scores



Assignment, Chapter 4 Exercise 2, Chapter 5 Exercises 2,4




USP515 Session 4 Notes

September 14th and 16th
Session Four: Environmental Justice
This session will focus on the concept and root causes of environmental injustice. We will be guided by the following questions: 

  1. How would you define the concept of “environmental injustice”?
    • Disparate impact
    • Social movement in relation to environmental movement with social justice component
    • Poorer nations bear the burden of externalities for rich nations
    • Complex concept made up of multiple intersecting dimensions
      • Impact of institutional racism on land based policies
      • Dynamics of power: where, how, who makes decision related to who is protected from harm
      • Race, class, and equity inequalities
      • Distributional dimensions: disparate impact
    • Factors come together to protect some people more/better from harm than others
    • Film
      • “Reimagining the system”
      • Demographic factors mentioned
        • Race
        • Wealth
        •  Language
          • Associates you closer or further from the dominant culture
      • Land use policies help explain why some groups and locations are better protected from harm than others.
        • Legacy of slavery is a factor in determining land use policies
        • City of San Francisco owns lots of land around the state which are used to deliver services and utilities to the city
          • This makes those lands vassals which serve the needs of San Francisco, suffering harms from dumping and other problems for the benefit of people living in San Francisco
  2. What factors explain the root causes of environmental injustice?
    • Capitalism frames the economy
    • The constitution frames the laws
    • Systemic inequality/ oppression
      • Legacy of slavery
      • Redlining
      • Chinese exclusion act
      • Concentration camps
      • Immigration laws
      • Prison industrial complex
  3. Why are zip codes meaningful factors to understand when trying to understand environmental injustice?
    • They tell you where people live
    • They have histories of redlining
    • Associated with property, infrastructure, services, etc.
    • Political representation
    • Policy implementation
  4. What did you learn from the radio broadcast on Flint, Michigan?
    • balance of power shifted away from flint and to the state
      • laws changed
      • idea of receivership enacted
    • laws applied inequitably and along racial lines
      • many cities insolvent
      • these receivership laws applied only black cities
    • all the public and private commercial offices were informed about the contaminated water and switched to filtration and bottled sources
      • residents were not informed and continued to drink the contaminated water
      • vital information was withheld from marginalized communities
    • governor appoints unelected leaders and decision makers whose interests do not represent the community, and whose demographics do not represent the community
    • put policies into practice which harm the people
    • they denied the harm
    • community members started to notice problems
      • pediatricians noticed heavy metal poisoning symptoms
    • contamination confirmed through testing by virginia tech
    • whistle blew
    • state denied the problem by changing the standards so that the toxic levels no longer qualified as toxic.
  5. Give an example of an environmental injustice that you see happening today and explain the root causes of this environmental injustice?
    • The 580 freight ban
      • Rich white people in the Oakland hills ban freight traffic through their neighborhoods in order to protect themselves from harm
      • Harm is shifted to poor black neighborhoods
      • Those neighborhoods have a 14 year average difference in life expectancy and thirty times higher incidence of respiratory disorders

Other Notes

  • WW2 and wealth redistribution
    • War veterans were supposed to get many benefits
      • Mortgages including free down payment
      • Education
      • Access to veteran healthcare
      • Hiring incentives for employers
      • This mostly only for white people and only for men
      • Black people could get debt, where white people got free money for these things.
    • This gave trillions of dollars to white people and funded the creation of the suburbs
  • Talked about red lining and segregation
    • Green book
    • Hegemonic food culture
  • Small group discussion about “Which came first, people or pollution
    • It’s complicated
    • Siting versus post-siting effects for hazardous waste facilities and why they are sited in certain places
    • I live in West Oakland because it’s cheap
      • It’s cheap because it’s polluted.
        • It became polluted because it was mostly black.
    • In this case, the hazardous waste sites were placed in certain kinds of marginalized neighborhoods. The people came before the pollution.
    • LULU: Locally unwanted land uses
      • Zoning and permitting
        • Institutional discrimination can decide where hazardous things are permitted.
      • land values are more affordable
      • political process – access to information, representation
      • commingled factors – transportation, workers, air quality, utilities, space — large buildings
    • people came second: demographic changes after siting have led to increasing concentration of minorities and the poor around these sites
      • employment opportunities
      • cost of housing less expensive
      • social networks
      • culture
      • law, politics, housing covenants, laws, redlining


  1. Which came first, people or pollution? — Mohai and Saha
  2. Making the Case for Linking Community Development and Health

USP514 Session 4 Notes

September 14th and 16th
Session Four: Sustainable Development in Historical Context
This session will focus on the origins of the concept of sustainable development and how it is connected to the concept of development. Our discussion will be guided by the following questions:

  1. What is meant by the term “development”?
    • To improve the accessibility or availability of resources
    • Policies or technologies that are supposed to improve society
    • United Nations defines development as improving quality of life
  2. What principles undergird the concept of development?
    • Land use planning
    • Reducing waste
    • Limiting externalities
    • Expansion/ growth
  3. What organizations are principally responsible for development efforts?
    • Private equity
    • Public institutions
  4. How is the concept of sustainable development connected to the concept of development?
    • Sustainable development is a reaction to the concept of development
    • Post WW2
      • Many countries involved
      • Huge shifts in industrial production and widespread devastation to existing industrial infrastructure everywhere except the United States
      • United States came out of the war with a major advantage in industrial production capacity
      • This advantage was leveraged to create many new global institutions to reinforce that power and leverage it against any nation which did not comply with our foreign policies
      • Cold war divisions created
        • Economic and political structures created to divide the world into two factions and pit them against each other
        • Financing
          • Aid was given out with conditions which allowed the US to politically transform much of the world, leading to a politically compliant international system where no one had the power to challenge the US’ supremacy.
          • Most of the third world was given debt instead of aid, which they were required to pay back.
          • “Structural adjustment” transferred public institutions and property to private companies along with saddling the nations with debt.
          • Funded extraction of wealth from the developing world
        • Military support
        • Trade agreements
        • Borders
          • Lots of new nations invented out of thin air and pitted against each other
          • Triangular Diplomacy: Kissinger’s doctrine for dividing and conquering China and the USSR
        • Institutions
          • A way of implementing shared ideological frameworks across different nations and cultures
          • International banking systems created
            • World Bank
            • International Monetary Fund
            • Two other now-defunct international banks
          • United Nations
            • Funded by signatories
            • Creates institutions, banking systems
            • Serves as a forum for negotiating international treaties and other issues
          • NATO
        • Political agreements
  5. How is the concept of sustainable development different from the concept of development?
    • The goal of conventional development is typically to make as much money as possible.
      • Neoliberalism and trickle-down economics
      • Chicago school of economics/ neoclassical economics
      • Trickle down and development theory are not an accurate view of the world. They relied on massive government intervention and widespread high wages which now don’t exist. There was a time during the early neoliberal era when wages were high because of the post-war jump in development. This led to a false sense that this was a natural fact rather than a temporary and artificially created situation. This situation no longer exists, and the devotion to this flawed ideology is now contributing to harm rather than good.
    • The UN defines the goal of sustainable development as improving quality of life.
      • Doughnut economics and sustainable/ regenerative design
    • Brundtland Commission
      • Represented the UN and Central Banks to develop an official institutional perspective of sustainable development.
      • Internal definition: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.
      • How do we measure these needs?
      • Whose needs do we measure?
    • Pinderhughes definition: The term sustainable development is used differently by different groups and organizations. In this clzss we will use the term to encompass urban planning and policy approaches that can be used to minimize a city’s negative impact on the environment while providing urban residents with the infrastructure and services they need to sustain a high quality of urban life.
  6. What does the concept “anthropocena era” refer to and why is this an important concept?
  7. What is mean by the concept “triple bottom line” and how does it related to the concept of sustainable development?
  8. Are the terms “sustainable development” and “green cities” the same?

Second part

  1. How do different groups and organizations define the term “sustainable development”?
    1.  Bruntland/ Early UN Definition: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.
    2. Widespread group of thinkers worked on defining those needs
      1. Three Es
        1. Economy
        2. Environment
        3. Equity
      2. Three Ps
        1. Profit
        2. Planet
        3. People
    3. Next generation of UN research comes up with the 17 SDGs
  2. What do we mean when we use the term “sustainable cities”?
    1. The sustainable development concept is being used in an urban context
  3. What do we mean when we use the term “ecological cities”?
  4. What can we learn from case studies of ecological cities?
  1.  Find one song that focuses on issues of equity.
  2. Bring the
    1. name (Retribution by Tanya Tagaq)
    2. lyrics
    3. tape of the song (on your phone or through a link) to class to share with others.
  3. Be prepared to talk about why you chose this song in relation to our discussion of equity.
    1. It’s a commentary on the exploitation of the tar sands on Inuk lands which benefits white settler colonists while leaving enormous destruction for native people to endure.


Other Notes

  • When Haiti overthrew the French slavers, it was required by the international community to reimburse France for the cost of establishing slavery, the cost of the freed slaves, and the future revenue France expected to earn from slavery in Haiti.
    • This has never happened except for Haiti
  • Equitable development is an approach for meeting the needs of underserved communities through policies and programs that reduce disparities while fostering places that are healthy and vibrant. It is increasingly considered a strong place-based action for creating strong and livable communities.
    • Driven by priorities and values as well as clear expectations that the outcomes from development need to be responsive to underserved populations and vulnerable groups, in addition to using innovative design strategies and sustainable policies, acknowledging and understanding both is necessary for sustaining environmental justice.
    • Locally-based approach
    • Shock Doctrine: The opportunity to start an equitable development approach may arise from a catalytic event – such as undertaking a large infrastructure project or a broad civic campaign
      • Unexpected stressors and crises may serve as a catalyst for fundamental social change and the move towards equitable development.
        • Move to worker-owned cooperatives
        • Move to better fire-resistant construction materials
        • Longshoremen union fighting the development of luxury condos at the Port Of Oakland
    • US and international corporate hotel interests pressured Bali through structural adjustment and other means to abandon damaged fishing communities rather than repair them.
      • Military was brought in to force residents out of ancestral homes and demolish them
      • International hotel industry bought the abandoned land and replaced it with hotels
      • If it was unsafe for farmers to live on their ancestral land then how is it safe for hotel industry?
        • Is that really the question we should be asking?
    • Oakland moms saga
      • Unhoused moms move into abandoned property, clean it up and make it livable.
      • Landowners who had abandoned the land demand it back.
      • City offers to buy the home for the moms at market rate
      • Land owner refuses
      • Enormous social pressure and widespread protests
      • Land owner caves
  • Triple Bottom Line
    • as opposed to bottom line = trickle down
    • double bottom line
      • profit + environmental benefits
    • triple bottom line
      • profit + environmental benefits + social equity
  • Many firms which claim to be triple bottom line are not actually
  • Equitable development includes community outreach which drives a set of measurable goals for projects based on needs expressed by the community
  • Equitable development requires accurate and relevant data from the first to the last — what gest measured gets done!
  • To find funding for equitable development, the project needs to leverage equitable community relationships
  • One organization with capacity should lead and coordinate


  • Economic vs Ecological cities
    • Economic cities
      • Build as many enormous homes as possible and sell them for as much as possible
      • Create unsustainable transportation networks to allow people to commute enormous distances to work every day
      • Make it cheaper to drive to work versus using transit
      • Pricing transit by distance means people are unlikely to use it when it would be most impactful
      • No bike lanes
      • Pricing water very low for home monoculture
      • Allowing corporations to break the law and emit toxic levels with trivial fines which are tax deductible
    • Ecological cities
      • Make it hard and expensive to own a car
      • Make public transit cheaper than driving
      • Parking fees and restrictions everywhere


  1. The Anthropocena Epoch 
  2. Sustainable Development Goals
  3. Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development, Scott Campbell, Journal of the American Planning Association, Summer, 1996.

USP515 Session 3 Notes

September 9th
Session Three: Central Theories

This session will focus on the concept and root causes of environmental injustice. We will be guided by the following questions:

  1. What are the main issues discussed in Feagin and Eckberg article? (These are all quotes)
    1. Most of the germane social science literature contains some variation
      of the assumption that prejudice causes discrimination

      1. Thus in his pathbreaking study An American Dilemma, Myrdal saw racial prejudice as a complex of beliefs that “are behind discriminatory behavior on the part of the majority group” and that contradict the egalitarian American Creed.
      2. Only a few dozen prejudice-discrimination studies exist among the
        many attitude-behavior studies in the empirical literature
      3. Attitude-behavior research, published primarily in a few social psychology journals, emphasizes individualistic explanations; it seldom considers variables outside an experimental subject’s personality or immediate reference group.
      4. Few studies of prejudice and discrimination, i looking at causal explanations, have focused on economic and political context
      5. In addition to this variegated research literature, more general and
        theoretical discussions in the social sciences continue to accent a prejudice-causes-discrimination
      6. Because of their focus on prejudice and its relation to discrimination,
        social scientists have tended toward optimism about the eradication of discrimination
    2. Social scientists have also sought to delineate the statistical and psychological effects of discrimination
    3. Institutional Discrimination: a shift in emphasis
      1. Beginning in earnest in the 1960s, some social scientists departed from the prejudice-causes-discrimination model and focused on other types of motivation and other dimensions of discrimination
      2. Interest theory suggests that discrimination can be shaped by desire for social, economic, or political gain
      3. Institutional Racism: In Black Power, the activist Carmichael
        and the scholar Hamilton first used the concept of institutional racism in an extended sociological analysis. Looking beyond individual white bigots, they try to discern community-wide patterns of discrimination, but racial prejudice remains for them the fundamental motivation for institutional patterns of discrimination
      4. The internal colonialism perspective asserts that privilege was created when colonizing Europeans wrested resources such as labor and land away from native peoples
    4. A typology of discrimination
      1. The traditional emphasis on prejudice and its effects has left undefined the major types of discriminatory mechanisms and the range of motivations behind them
      2. Two features of institutionalized discrimination are important for
        analytical purposes: (a) its organizational embeddedness and (b) its

        1. Embeddedness refers to the organizational environment, to
          the size and complexity of the relevant social unit. Size and complexity can vary from actions of a single individual to the routine practices of many individuals in a large organization
        2. In analyzing discriminatory actions, we distinguish two basic types intentional and unintentional. Intentional motivation includes (a) prejudice-motivated discrimination, (b) conformity-motivated discrimination and (c) gain-motivated discrimination
    5. The larger context
      1. Interaction and overlay
        1. Discriminatory actions within one institutional area are frequently linked to discrimination in other institutional settings
      2. The cultural background
        1. Several recent authors have reemphasized the cultural context of institutionalized discrimination
      3. Class and racial discrimination
        1. Class analysis in the orthodox Marxist tradition has generally played down the importance of racism analysis, seeing class oppression as the core characteristic in this society and racist ideologies as class weapons. Exploitation theories of discrimination date back at least to Marx & Engels’ discussion (Marx & Engels 1971) of the stereotype of the poor Irish fostered by British capitalists to divide the working class
          1. Since a form of racial subordination (e.g. slavery) often predates the emergence of well developed prejudice or ideology, it is plausible to view much prejudice as rationalization
        2. In contrast, a few social scientists have begun to see both class and race oppression as core characteristics of US society.
          1. In their path-breaking book Unorthodox Marxism (1978:181), Albert & Hahnel have developed the view that both class and race discrimination ad stratification have “a determining impact upon the life situation of a particular oppressed group and a defining effect upon everyone else as well.”
        3. Some who argue in the Marxist tradition (broadly construed) see an eventual decline in the importance of race discrimination. I his controversial book The Declining Significance of Race, Wilson (1978:150) demonstrates that in the last decade an affluent class of blacks has surfaced whose economic condition differs significantly from the black majority “underclass.” Thus racial oppression, while still important, is now secondary to class “in determining black life-chances in the modern industrial period.
    6. Racial discrimination remains a bedrock feature of this society; only research documenting the dimensions of discrimination seems to be on the decline.
  2. What do we learn from the diagram that Feagin and Eckberg use in their article?
    1. It shows the dimensionality of intention and pervasiveness in institutional discrimination. The authors discuss each possible combination and later argue for trends in interaction and movement between the groups.
    2. The combinations are clustered into four main groups which are both possible and likely.
  3. What can we learn about institutionalized racism from the Feagin and Eckberg analysis and diagram?
    1. The implication from the overall message of the article with regard to this chart is that each type of institutional racism works in a fundamentally different way and should have its own research and solutions.
  4. What are the main issues discussed in Bullard’s article?
    1. Confronting environmental racism
    2. Over 1.3 billion people worldwide live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions
    3. The pervasive presence of settler colonialism leads directly to the displacement and extermination of native populations everywhere.
    4. Costly externalities have disparate impact  for different kinds of communities
      1. “Unequal power arrangements have allowed poisons of the rich to be offered as short-term remedies for poverty of the poor.”
    5. “The environmental justice movement has begun to build a global network of grassroots groups, community-based organizations, university-based resource centers, researchers, scientists, educators and youth group”
  5. What are the main issues discussed in Mohai and Bryant article?
    1. The disadvantaged face greater risks
    2. Many examples where being poor and/or non-white led to marginalized people being exposed to environmental harms in order to protect rich and/or white people.


ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION THREE (click on session 3 on left to access reading) 


  1. Discrimination: Motivation, Action, Effects, and Context – Feagin and Eckberg
  2. Confronting Environmental Racism in the 21st Century -Bullard
  3. Race, Poverty, and the Environment -Mohai and Bryant
  4. Green 2.0: Leaking Talent 
  5. Green 2.0: The Green Insiders Club


 HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Due September 14th and 16th

  1. Listen to this radio broadcast on Democracy Now.
  2. Summarize everything  you learned from the video.
    • An unelected “emergency manager” in Flint Michigan switched its water supply from the Detroit system to the flint river in order to save money.
      • The public was not involved in this decision
    • This river was full of toxic corrosive chemicals which led to discolored water and health problems for citizens.
      • Companies like general motors had dumped toxic chemicals into the river for years
    • There were bacterial outbreaks in the new dirty water which led to sickness for citizens.
    • The city dumped chlorine into the water which reacted with the materials to create extremely dangerous byproducts in the water.
    • The corrosive chemicals in the river and added by the city led to corrosion of the pipes and leached toxic heavy metals into the water, poisoning countless people in the city.
    • Officials ignored and covered up complaints by the citizens.
      • Widespread protests and citizen testing projects were needed to prove the problems existed.
    • Years later, the problems are the same.
    • People are forced to buy gallons of water from the store in order to have water to drink, and yet legally they are still required to pay for the toxic, poisoned city water supply.
    • Activists are calling for citizens to be made whole
      • Clean water to homes
      • Replace contaminated appliances and in-home pipes
    • A nearby nestle plant extracts hundreds of gallons of water per minute to sell to residents.
      • Nestle pays nothing for this water.
  3. Be prepared to discuss in class.

Thirsty for Democracy: The Poisoning of an American City”: Special Report on Flint’s Water Crisis — KPFA starts at 6.58 minutes in

USP493 Session 3 Notes

  1. Graphic presentation of data
    1. For nominal and ordinal data you can do a pie chart or a bar chart
    2. For grouped interval data you can construct a histogram
    3. For grouped or ungrouped interval data you can construct line graphs
  2. Measures of Central Tendency
    1. Mode – can be used for nominal, ordinal and interval data the most often selected value (Note the mode is the value of the variable not the frequency) can have a bimodal distribution when more than two modes
    2. Median – can be used for ordinal and interval data the “middle” value – half the sample is higher and half lower
      1. line up all the cases from the smallest to the largest
      2. find the middle position (N+1)/2
        1. if odd number of cases, it will be the value of that case
        2. if even number of cases, it will be the average of the values of the cases on either side of it. For ordinal data, simply state it is between the two values.
        3. Locating a median if you have a cumulative frequency distribution
    3. The mean – can be used for interval data
      1. calculating a mean from a frequency distribution
        1. multiple the number of cases which take on each value by the value, then add together and divide by the number of cases as usual
    4. Relationship between mode, median and mean
    5. Which one should you use?
    6. The shape of a distribution
      1. Symmetrical – mean median and more are the same
      2. Positive skew – there are some extreme high values
      3. Negative skew – there are some extreme low values
  3. Measures of Variability
    1. Index of Qualitative Variability – used for nominal data
    2. The range – used for interval data – simply the largest value minus the lowest value. The interquartile range, the difference between the cutpoint where 25 percent of the cases have a larger values, and the cutpoint where 25 percent of the cases have a lower value. The boxplot shows the range, the interquartile range and the median
    3. The variance and standard deviation, a measure of the amount scores cluster at the mean or spread out from the mean. Used for interval data. The variance is the average squared deviation of scores from the mean. The standard deviation is calculated from the variance. You simply take the square root of the variance.