Exploring the use of Geographic Information Systems as an Environmental and Social Justice Advocacy Tool for Community-Based Organizations: A Case Study of Galena Park, Texas

Environmental factors within communities play a significant role on the health and well-being of resi-
dents. These social and physical determinants have a substantial effect on health. This interaction can result in environmental injustices, inequality, and ultimately poor health for residents. The community of Galena Park, Texas, is a predominantly minority community of Hispanic and African-American resi- dents with previously undocumented concerns related to air quality, the built environment, access to healthcare and the food environment. Through participatory engagement with Galena Park residents using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this research examines the degree to which GIS is an effec- tive tool in illustrating and visualizing environmental and social injustices. Findings from this research suggest that GIS only relays part of the story and is most powerful when the lived experiences of resi- dents are integrated into the analytical process.

Date Published: 2012

Author Affiliation: Georgia State University: Department of Geosciences

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