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Engineering, Infrastructures and Environmental Justice

Environmental Engineering, Infrastructures and Environmental Justice: Project Summary<br/>With the exception of natural disasters, environmental impacts to the human population and<br/>ecosystems in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries can be traced directly to<br/>industrial engineering systems and the built environment. The types of wastes produced by these<br/>engineering systems radically changed with the rise of the petrochemical age after World War II<br/>and have been shown to have had a disproportionate impact on the environment and health of<br/>minority and poor communities in the United States and in developing countries. Intellectual<br/>Merit: Making Environmental History Making More Inclusive The intellectual merit of the<br/>proposed work is that it will advance the fields of environmental history, the history of<br/>technology, history of science, history of public health and African American history by<br/>producing histories that elucidate the diverse (racial, ethnic, class based and gendered) human<br/>experiences with industrial technologies developed after World War II and the concomitant<br/>environmental pollution and environmental health problems associated with them in the United<br/>States. This proposal is directed at initiating research that will begin to fill an important<br/>void in all of these disciplines. The objective of this project is to research and document the<br/>interrelationships between the history of waste water treatment systems and municipal sanitary<br/>systems on the one hand, and the claims of environmental injustice by African American communities in the Great Lakes region on the other hand. Although environmental pollution is color blind, this work, along with studies by other scholars will demonstrate how such developments have had a significant and disproportionate impact on racial and class minorities. Broader Impacts: Understanding Engineering Design and Environmental Disparities . The broader impact of the proposed work is that it will give policy makers, grassroots activists, educators and academics from multiple fields (i.e. sociology, law, urban planning and public health) a historically grounded understanding of the interrelationships between the development of engineering systems and claims of environmental justice. The research data gathered from studying these interrelationships will also be critical in helping to resolve environmental justice debates (past, current and future) that are taking place locally, nationally and internationally.

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