ABOUT THIS BOOK
Only 3% of all Americans believe they live in bad neighborhoods. But 30% to 45% of those who live in places with crime and illegal drug sales, rats and stray dogs, hazardous waste sites, factory pollution, and abandoned and blighted buildings rate their neighborhood as poor quality. Even when these neighborhoods have good schools, parks, and other amenities, their resident's ratings do not go up. This holds true no matter who is asked - young, old, men or women, middle class, working class, or on welfare. Local health and planning officials corroborate resident perceptions. It is particularly noticeable that stress from living near a toxic waste site - the hazard that gets the biggest attention in terms of dollars spent - is low on the resident's list of fears about their neighborhoods. They'd much prefer to see the money put to fixing the immediate dangers on their block. But because federal and state government policies for protecting public health, lowering crime, and saving the environment are divided into separate bureaucratic cubby-holes, effective planning to improve these stressed neighborhoods is difficult. Beginning with the call for a definition of "environment" that fits the realities of these places, the authors argue for and propose policy initiatives that address all the desperate needs of these beleaguered neighborhoods. This book is essential reading for students, academics, and professionals in environmental studies, public health, urban studies and planning, as well as grassroots community organizers.