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Environmental Injustice in France

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This paper presents the first national study on environmental inequalities in France. It applies the Anglo-American concept of environmental justice, focusing on the distribution of environmental burdens, to the French setting and tests the hypothesis that poor and immigrant communities are disproportionately exposed to environmental risks. The location of eight types of hazardous sites (industrial and nuclear sites, incinerators, waste management facilities) and the socio-economic characteristics of populations are associated at the commune, or town, level for all 36 600 French towns. The analysis, descriptive and multivariate, uses simple and spatial regression techniques. It shows that towns with high proportions of immigrants tend to host more hazardous sites, even controlling for population size, income, degree of industrialization of the town and region. The study establishes the presence of environmental inequities in France and raises new public policy questions. However, it does not investigate the mechanisms that may explain inequities, which could include procedural injustices, land market dynamics and historical patterns of industrial and urban development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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