Environmental Benefits Districts in Prince George's County
Many disenfranchised communities have a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards, a high concentration of psychosocial stressors, and inequities in planning, zoning, and development. Environmental Benefits Districts (EBDs) may be a solution to the problem of environmental injustice because of the focus on salutogenesis (Wilson, 2009) and equitable and positive development. Although the EBD construct is relatively new, this project developed metrics in order to guide placement of EBDs and estimate the social, health, economic and environmental impacts of EBD implementation. Case studies of zoning and planning inequities in Prince George’s County, accounting of health disparities using the MD Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, and case studies of Sheriff Road and Brandywine, MD were also used as resources. Additionally, gaps in existing programs including brownfield redevelopment efforts, economic and health Enterprise Zones, and the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) were also reviewed. This framework defines an EBD construct for Prince George’s County, MD that leverages environmental justice research and the equitable development framework developed by Carlton Eley. The EBD construct was shared with municipal and community-based organizations throughout the County with the objective of empowering local residents to be more engaged in decision-making around zoning, planning, and implementing a vision for making their communities greener, healthier, and more equitable.
For more information on equitable development, watch this 2018 lecture given by Carlton Eley, MSURP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ7KLfhFBSg
Hutson, M. A., & Wilson, S. (2011). The role of community-based strategies in addressing metropolitan segregation and racial health disparities. Community Development, 42(4), 476-493.