Q&A: How can the City ensure that neighborhoods are protected from environmental and health hazards? City is seeking resident input

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The City of San Diego is in the process of updating its General Plan with a new chapter titled the Environmental Justice Element. This effort is designed to ensure that all San Diego neighborhoods are better protected from environmental and health hazards and have access to resources to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. The City is soliciting input from residents to help shape this important update.

The Environmental Justice Element will help ensure people of all races, cultures and incomes are equitably valued and protected and served by laws, regulations and policies that impact the environment around them. This includes policies regarding buildings and uses of land, transportation, parks and natural spaces, the urban landscape and city services. The survey will be open until February 28, 2021, and is available in several languages. Learn more about the Environmental Justice Element and take the survey at sandiego.gov/planning/environmental-justice-survey


What is environmental justice? There are many ways to think about Environmental Justice. This survey is guided by the definition of Environmental Justice as “Fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (California Government Code Section 65040.12(c)). In other words, Environmental Justice ensures that people of all races, cultures, and incomes are equally and equitably valued, protected, and served by laws, regulations, and policies that impact the environment around us, including those about buildings and uses of land, transportation, parks and natural spaces, the urban landscape, and city services.

Some specific topics that are included in Environmental Justice are:

  • Exposure to air pollution from automobiles and pollution from industrial businesses and activities
  • Access to resources for good health, including healthy food and grocery stores, safe spaces for physical activity, health care, and paramedic services
  • Exposure to increased health risks due to the influence of climate change
  • Access to safe infrastructure and facilities that support physical activity, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, parks, and recreation centers
  • Access to housing, including safe and healthy housing
  • Ability of residents to engage with each other and the City to consider and make decisions that affect community health and environmental issues

Learn more about the Environmental Justice Element and take the survey at sandiego.gov/planning/environmental-justice-survey

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