Environmental justice is at the heart of what a fair city would look like. It is defined as: The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Measuring Environmental Justice in Birmingham
The Birmingham Future Parks Accelerator Project has looked at how other cities around the world have responded to the issue of unequal access to green space; and is the first UK local authority to develop a measurement tool for Environmental Justice; based on the existing Indices of Multiple Deprivation.
The Environmental Justice score measures:
• Access to a green space (2 hectares or larger) within 1,000m
• Flood Risk
• Urban Heat Island effect
• Health Inequalities (through Excess Years of Life Lost)
• Indices of Multiple Deprivation
The FPA Team working with partners developed a new map of Birmingham that shows where in the city all these compound issues are being felt most acutely. This then provides a very useful new baseline from which to develop an evidence-based approach to levelling-up.
You can download a pdf of the environmental justice map by clicking the download button below. The map shows the city separated into wards that are colour coded against a list of wards that show the environmental justice combined score. The higher the score the less “just” the ward is. The most just wards are dark green < 0.22 the least just wards are red > 0.38
In between are light green 0.24 – 0.28 yellow 0.29 – 0.33 and orange 0.34 – 0.38 wards
All 69 Wards are given a value and a corresponding colour. We want to make the changes in all green spaces that will contribute to turning the whole city environmental justice map green. The plan to do this is the City of Nature 25 Year Plan. You can read more here: https://naturallybirmingham.org/birmingham-city-of-nature-delivery-framework/
The red wards show those areas of the city where there is least environmental justice for citizens living there. Access to green space is lowest, the areas are urban heat islands, at risk of flooding, have high levels of deprivation and people have worse health and wellbeing. This presents a real challenge to the city. We will start to achieve environmental justice for the city by applying a process called the Fair Park Standard. This makes sure that at a micro or site level a site is in a good condition to provide simple benefits and allow capacity building to increase the benefits it provides to the community and wildlife (biodiversity) in the ward.