Environmental Justice, Advocacy, and Urban Regeneration – syllabus
(ENVI/EURO3005 / 3 credits)
In this seminar, environmental justice is used in a broad sense to refer to the distribution and access to green spaces and green infrastructure and the social relations of production and power that shape equitable access and distribution. Variables such as race, class, or territorial location impact environmental in/justice and people’s access to resources, including green spaces, forests, clean air, water, health, or education. While the 1976 Portuguese Constitution recognized the “right to a healthy and ecologically balanced living environment” and the “duty to defend it,” it is only after the Framework Act on the Environment was passed in 1987 that environmental public policy became an important item on the agenda of policy makers. Students analyze the politics underlying inequitable environmental policies and the resistance movements built to fight such injustices in the areas of waste management, industry, energy, megaprojects, and territorial management. The focus is on environmental injustices in the areas of distribution of green spaces in urban environments and ensuing socioeconomic and health impacts. Students learn also about major cases of environmental conflicts in Portugal and in southern Spain during educational excursions. The seminar draws on theoretical and empirical frameworks from a plurality of disciplines including environmental studies, environmental science, urban planning, public health, cultural geography, and sociology to interrogate environmental policies and practices and examine their impacts on environmental degradation and the well-being of communities in low-income neighborhoods.