Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015


Environmental Science


John van Buren


Historically, the availability of economic, social, and political opportunities has been almost absent from marginalized communities, such as the Bronx. For reasons like race, ethnicity, and class, these geographic areas have been targeted and named as risk areas in the mid 1900s by banks and other agencies. This historic phenomenon is known as “redlining.” As a result, they received little, if any, economic, social, and political support from the government and other agencies and systems. Instead, any effort to climb the economic and social ladder was initiated by community members and organizations. As a result the community has suffered difficulties financially, socially, and environmentally. The historical profiling of the Bronx created by redlining has had detrimental consequences. There is a lingering belief that the Bronx is not as valuable compared to other boroughs such as Manhattan when it comes to investments, especially environmental investments. This paper investigates the environmental funding for New York City boroughs, and what percentage of that funding comes from the government to the Bronx. The paper describes how the Bronx community, specifically the Northwest Bronx, was able to overcome the failure of the government set-up by redlining through community- based organizations. It compares the history of redlining and its effects on the community to the lack of investment in environmental sustainability in the Bronx that we see today. I use three disciplines to explain my thesis: history, environmental politics, and environmental ethics.