Date of Award


Degree Type



Environmental Science


John Van Buren


Of all the proposed moral environmental theories, none has addressed the problems that plague the urban environment and its habitants quite like the environmental justice theory. Based on the idea that environmental issues are also Civil Rights issues, environmental justice seeks to establish just and equal distribution of environmental benefits and burdens across a whole spectrum of racial and socio-economic groups. The Environmental Protection (EPA) has defined the theory as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” With the continued development of the environmental justice movement came outgrowths of various frameworks which urban communities implemented to try and resolve their own local environmental problems. One particular subdivision, termed street science, took shaped in a local Brooklyn area when members of the community decided to incorporate their local community knowledge with professional knowledge to help improve scientific inquiry and environmental health decision making. Street science is an excellent example of active citizens incorporating the principles and values of environmental justice.

This paper will thoroughly discuss exactly how this unique combination of environmental justice and street science could be applied to resolve the issue of the increasing rate of asthma in urban settings. Specific examples from Jason Corburn’s book, “Street Science” will be drawn upon to show exactly how the Greenpoint/Williamsburg community in Brooklyn implemented street science in their community and attempted to minimize the environmental health risks associated with their local area.