Wedging Equity and Environmental Justice into the Discourse on Sustainability

  • Oscar H. Gandy, Jr. University of Pennsylvania
Keywords: Inequality, Equity, Environmentalism, Sustainability, Social and Economic Indicators, Measurement, Framing, Reframing, Environmental Justice, Activism, Social movements, Planning, Policy Formation


This paper examines the problems and prospects for including meaningful indicators of intragenrational equity into the city based regional planning efforts unfolding around the globe. The central focus of the paper is on the challenges that environmental justice (EJ) activists face as they attempt to frame the problem of equity in ways that the general public would see as not only informative, but compelling.

After reviewing examples of successful efforts to reframe debates about equity, the paper concludes with a discussion of a set of EJ concerns and indicators that have the greatest potential for capturing public attention and commitment despite mounting resistance to the use of redistributive policies in support of sustainability goals.

Author Biography

Oscar H. Gandy, Jr., University of Pennsylvania
Taught at the University of California, San Diego, Howard University and the University of Pennsylvaia. Achieved emeritus status in 2006. Research and publication has been in the areas of communications systems and institutions, message system analysis and media effects. Major publications include Beyond Agenda Setting, The Panoptic Sort, Communication and Race, and most recently, Coming to Terms with Chance. Policy related public service as member, and later Board Chair of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and founding member of the Union for Democratic Communication.