(un)Just Sustainabilities online Exhibit

This online exhibit for Professor Heather Bedi’s Environmental and Social Justice class allows Dickinson College students to reflect on environmental injustices and demographic trends in their neighborhood, town, city, or state. In defining just sustainabilities, Agyeman et al. (2003) argue that social and economic inequalities across place exacerbate environmental injustices. They advocate for human equality to be central in sustainability efforts. Students explore (un) just sustainabilities in their place through a paper and a publicly exhibited zero-waste visual or audio project.

Allison Hill Brownfield Site – Unjust Sustainability

Brownfield site infographic

For this project, I chose to focus on a brownfield site in Harrisburg which is located in Allison Hill. In 2017, the Pennsylvania EPA gave a $200,000 grant to clean up the site (“EPA Brownfields Funding”). The site was the Allison Hill Automotive site, and is commonly called the “Heart of the Hill.” It is located in the “Industrial Park,” where there were smoke-stack facilities and factories during the 19th and 20th century. However, there are many leftover contaminants in the area, including asbestos, arsenic, and lead paint (“Heart of the Hill”). The environmental hazard from the contaminants has caused much of South Allison Hill to be unsafe and un-usable. Allison Hill has high levels of poverty and is a more diverse area in the city than any other parts of Harrisburg. There is also a lack of development in Allison Hill because there are no clothing stores, pharmacies, or convenience stores, so there is no economic growth within the neighborhood (Bellinger). The brownfield in Allison Park has many contaminants, and they are well known for being dangerous to environmental and human health. Asbestos, which is found at the Heart of the Hill site, causes water and air pollution and has increased cases of mesothelioma (McDonald). Despite federal funding to restore Allison Hill, there is still a lack of restorative measures taken to fix the brownfield, which shows an example of an (un)just sustainability through the lack of access of essential resources within the neighborhood to the residents as well as the dangers to both the residents within South Allison Hill as well as the environmental damage that toxic contaminants have caused.

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