Luskin Center Releases Pathways to Environmental Justice Report

Luskin Center Releases Pathways to Environmental Justice Report

Posted on

Fri, 10/26/2012 - 2:56pm

The Luskin Center presents Pathways to Environmental Justice: Advancing a Framework for Evaluation. This first-of-its-kind report proposes a framework that could be used by researchers, regulators, grantees and community members interested in the effective design and implementation of policies and programs to reduce environmental disparities.  It is a primer on evaluation and puts the subject in an environmental justice context. 

The report grew out of discussions at Closing the Environmental Justice Gap: A Workshop on Advancing Evaluation Methods. This landmark gathering, hosted at UCLA by the Luskin Center and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, brought together 100 environmental justice (EJ) leaders from across the nation to kick-start the sub-field of EJ policy and program evaluation. The objective of the workshop was to support the development of concrete objectives, metrics and benchmarks by which to monitor and measure progress towards defined EJ goals and allow for the strategic selection of policies and programs to achieve such goals.

Pre and post workshop research revealed the need for evaluation within the EJ context. The authors uncovered a great deal of research examining environmental disparities, but few studies that explored evaluative questions about the effectiveness of programs and policies at preventing, ameliorating or eliminating the environmental inequities. The general consensus at the workshop was that the EJ movement should incorporate performance measurement and evaluation as a more regular part of the program and policy process. The workshop and Pathways to Environmental Justice are first steps to help stakeholders--including community members, advocates, regulators, and other agency regulators--realize the benefits of evaluation. The benefits of evaluation as a management and learning tool include:

1)      Generate knowledge to improve the program or policy;
2)      Inform future efforts;
3)      Hold government agencies accountable for making meaningful progress on EJ issues and;
4)      Highlight success to funders and decision-makers; and
5)      Make the case for integrating EJ strategies into more policies and programs.

Colleen Callahan, deputy director of the UCLA Luskin Center, J.R. DeShazo, director of the Luskin Center and professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Cristin Kenyon, masters of urban and regional planning ’12, authored Pathways to Environmental Justice. The authors appreciate the workshop support and report review from staff at various offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency including Devon Payne-Sturges, Katherine Dawes, Lisa Garcia, and Charles Lee. We also recognize the intellectual leadership of the workshop Planning Committee members: Paul Ong, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity; Rachel Morello-Frosch, UC Berkeley School of Public Health & Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management; and Douglas Houston, UC Irvine Department of Planning, Policy & Design & the Metropolitan Futures Initiative.