New Peer-Review Journal Article: "The Case of Booker T. Washington High School: How post-disaster urban growth produces environmental risks and racism" in CITY

In this article, I synthesize insights from urban growth machine and risk society theories to advance scholarship that furthers an understanding of why and how environmental racism, in this case rebuilding a school on toxic land in a Black community, is produced during prolonged recovery to disaster. Using a single, embedded historical case, I focus on the redevelopment of the Booker T. Washington High School in the heart of New Orleans, LA with confirmed worrisome concentrations of highly toxic and carcinogenic elements and the associated health risks conferred to majority Black children who will attend. Using an explanation building technique, I find explanatory support for recovery machine theories that argue post-disaster funding is used to propel growth machine dynamics. In other words, reinvestment creates environmental risks that amount to environmental racism. Building on this theory, I illustrate through the case how redevelopment of post-disaster New Orleans manufactures environmental risk and how local groups experience that risk differently adding to sociological theorizations on the contested nature of risk. I discuss implications of the intersections of urban growth, environmental risk, and inequalities for cities.

  • Cannon, Clare E. B. 2021. “The Case of Booker T. Washington High School: How post-disaster urban growth produces environmental risks and racism.” CITY: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action, 25(3-4), 218-234. DOI: 10.1080/13604813.2021.1935510

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