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Title:Grand Calumet: the linkages between environmental justice, vulnerability and environmental governance
Author(s):Chantrill, Carolina Vanesa
Advisor(s):Greenlee, Andrew
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Grand Calumet River
Northwest Indiana
environmental justice
social vulnerability
environmental governance
Abstract:The US Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Indiana have invested over $80 million to remove contaminants from the Grand Calumet River. The river cuts through a highly diverse urban and industrial area punctuated by nature preserves, with strong ties to Chicago and a bustling mix of races, ethnicities, cultures and histories. Once home to vibrant industry and political organizing, the region has faced a variety of challenges driven by recession, economic changes and technological progress resulting in socio-economic struggles for the resident population. Moreover, Northwest Indiana has long been considered one of the most polluted areas in the United States since the times when there was little knowledge about pollution and no adequate regulations to protect the environment and health. Using a mix-method approach based on a “vulnerability of place” model, my thesis explores how and to what extent the communities located along the Grand Calumet River face social and geographic conditions that constitutes environmental inequalities. Then, applying concepts and frameworks from different literatures on management and governance of the environment, I analyze the changes and current arrangements in place to govern the water resources and the environment overall in order to establish the relationships between them and environmental and social outcomes occurring in the Grand Calumet River area. I confirm that Northwest Indiana shows a complex pattern of environmental inequalities, characterized by the presence of socially vulnerable groups residing in close proximity to industrial facilities with permits to discharge to waterways as a first approximation. I find that environmental governance of the Indiana Grand Calumet region has evolved from the former coalition towards a complex network of partnerships and collaborative relationships. Additionally, current governance strategies privilege interventions to restore the quality of the waterways while ignoring the relationships between the environment and the community in order to account more comprehensively the inequalities that remain in the memory, habits and beliefs of people. Although the capacity to reduce overall vulnerability is limited, efforts in environmental education and outreach offer promising opportunity to change the reality of the Grand Calumet communities.
Issue Date:2015-07-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Carolina Chantrill
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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