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Equity and the Sustainable City: ‘Just Green’ or ‘Just and Green’?

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Wednesday, 25 April 2018, 12:30

Wednesday, April 25, 2018. 12:30PM. Equity and the Sustainable City: ‘Just Green’ or ‘Just and Green’? Melanie McDermott, The College of NJ. Sponsored by Department of Human Ecology. More information here.


In New Jersey, whereas ‘sustainability’ is often presumed to be the concern of affluent, primarily suburban, whites, ‘environmental justice’ powers the environmentalism of the urban, poor and brown. The most highly urbanized state in the nation, New Jersey is also highly socio-spatially

segregated. Poverty, populations of color, and environmental burdens are concentrated in cities

surrounded by green and leafy suburbs. This context provokes the question: does suburban

‘sustainability’ rest on urban environmental injustice?


Making racial equity integral to the concept and practice of sustainability requires these divergent movements and constituencies be brought together. This paper examines the case of Sustainable Jersey, a state-wide municipal sustainability certification program that has embarked upon such an effort. The first stage involves coming to shared conceptual clarity on what ‘sustainability’ and ‘equity’ mean and how they interrelate as social goals at different scales. You are invited to help think through how to operationalize this connection in our towns and cities in order to realize a future Garden State that is both just and green.

Location  Blake Hall, Room 131, Cook Campus, New Brunswick NJ.