In this program students take an intensive, interdisciplinary look at the ways the environment—both the built environment and the natural one—interacts with, reinforces, or might ease economic and racial inequalities. Access to environmental amenities (open space, recreational and leisure opportunities, natural resources, food sources, etc.), environmental threats (hazardous waste facilities, polluting waste disposal sites, contaminated industrial sites, etc.), and opportunity-rich environments (neighborhoods with jobs or linked to employment centers, with high-quality educational facilities, with high quality of life, etc.) typically varies substantially for individuals in different socioeconomic classes and of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.
In this way, these groups face disparate environmental impacts, good and bad. Environmental policymakers are increasingly tasked with addressing both an environmental issue and its uneven, indirect consequences. This concentration is designed to prepare students for both of these responsibilities.