Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).
While governments have come a long way with environmental protection, gaps in data collection and cumulative impacts persist – and are directly impairing the health of communities. Given the severe and disproportionate health risks in low-income communities, more effective policy and regulation is also needed. The Los Angeles Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice’s latest report, “Hidden Hazards: A Call to Action for Healthy, Livable Communities,” makes progress toward achieving these goals.
To demonstrate the holes in regulatory agencies’ databases, the Collaboration engaged in “ground truthing.” That is, academic researchers worked with community members to collect data about the proximity of toxic facilities to those people most vulnerable to toxic exposure. Ground-truthing combines local knowledge, community-based data and standardized governmental information to provide a more complete and accurate dataset about toxic pollutants at the local level.
The result: new evidence on the clustering of toxic facilities and elevated air pollution and health risks in six Los Angeles neighborhoods. Not only are there more hazardous sites than regulatory data suggested, but these hazards are located too close to schools, health care facilities and daycare facilities.
In the report, the authors do urge regulatory agencies to enhance data collection but they also get down to practical policy priorities. They put forward an 11-part policy agenda for how local governments can utilize their land use powers to reduce health inequities. The policies fit into a three part framework: preventing further increases in cumulative impacts, mitigating existing hazards, and revitalizing communities by investing in local businesses and green technologies.
The impact of these policies will not be kept within the six neighborhoods profiled – actions we take to make vulnerable communities healthy will transform all of Los Angeles into a more health and livable city and region.
Read our other publications by research area
Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice
Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.
Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity
In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.
Social Movements & Governing Power
ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.
In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).
The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.