Many of Oakland’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income communities are disproportionately burdened by pollution and environmental stressors due to legacies of racialized zoning and policy-making.
In order to properly address this undue burden, the City is creating its first Environmental Justice (EJ) Element for the Oakland 2045 General Plan Update.
The Environmental Justice Element will serve as the keystone of the City’s environmental justice goals. This element will distinctly emphasize the importance of environmental justice in the General Plan.
In recognition of the connections between environmental justice topics and multiple elements of the General Plan, the City of Oakland will also integrate environmental justice into the policies, goals, and actions of all other elements.
Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities (sometimes referred to as “disadvantaged communities” by the State) are the specific beneficiaries of focused funding and targeted environmental justice efforts. They are eligible for special considerations and investments, and should also be recognized and uplifted in order to equitably allocate resources.
As part of the EJ Element, Oakland must identify EJ Communities that are low-income areas and are disproportionately impacted by pollution, socioeconomic vulnerability, and adverse health impacts. The City developed a screening analysis to identify EJ Communities that consists of a composite set of indicators (quantitative metrics of EJ issues). Each indicator is scored and then combined to identify the topmost cumulatively burdened communities. The map illustrates the geographic location of these communities and will be used to prioritize the needs of EJ Communities and to achieve environmental justice.
Check out our Primer on the Ongoing Update of the Draft Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities Map to learn more about the process of developing the Draft EJ Communities Map.