Environmental and Health Inequities in Houston’s Communities

Environmental and Health Inequities in Houston’s communities

Building Healthy Communities

Residents of Houston’s historically underserved communities live near a wide variety of hazardous sites, exposing them to serious health risks. Our goal is to ensure all Houstonians have an equal opportunity for a healthy environment.

The issue

Houston has many communities that have been under-resourced for decades. In addition to lacking basic quality of life features, such as access to healthy groceries or parks and greenspace, these communities carry a disproportionate burden of being located close to hazardous facilities and sites which put the health of residents at risk.

What we’re doing

Study: “Environmental Hazards and Inequitable Health Risks in Houston’s Complete Communities”

We’re working on a study analyzing land use and related health risks in Houston’s five pilot Complete Communities in collaboration with Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Our findings show that residents of these communities, who tend to be lower-income and non-white, live near a wide variety of hazardous emissions sites and face significantly more potential health risks than many other communities in Harris County. These risks are added on top of other challenges already faced by these residents, such as poverty, lack of mobility and unsafe homes.

While we focused on five pilot Complete Communities, it is likely that similar conclusions would be found when looking at other areas of Houston and Harris County.

We are working with community leaders and the city to chart a path forward toward creating healthier and more equitable communities in the Houston region.

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