GIS-based measures of environmental equity: Exploring their sensitivity and significance

Eric Sheppard, Helga Leitner, Robert B. Mcmaster, Hongguo Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


In order to determine whether principles of environmental justice have been violated, a large number of empirical studies have been carded out to ascertain whether minority and low-income populations are disproportionately exposed to industrial pollution. This study provides a comparative evaluation of two commonly employed proximity measures in GIS-based environmental equity assessment, examining their influence on the results of the analysis, and proposes a methodology for evaluating the significance of these results. 1990 census data on population characteristics and data from the 1995 EPA's toxic release inventory (TRI) for the City of Minneapolis, MN are used. These results also allow a preliminary assessment of environmental equity/inequity in potential exposure to airborne toxic chemicals for racial minorities, poor people and children in Minneapolis. In the third part of the paper we develop and employ a geographic randomization methodology for assessing the significance of these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was completed as part of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) Research Initiative 19 (NSF grant SBR 88-10917).


  • Environmental justice
  • Risk assessment


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