Global Educational Research Journal

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Pacoima Beautiful: Using GIS as a form Sustainability Education to Combat Environmental Injustice

Anna Dvorak



Accepted 15th July, 2014


The study of environmental injustice explores environmental inequalities impacting people marginalized on a variety of characteristics namely class/income, race as well as gender, sexual orientation, and age. In the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that address these issues. Nevertheless, GIS education has rarely been considered or applied as a tool to combat environmental injustices in affected communities.  This paper focuses on environmental injustice in one specific city/suburb in Los Angeles: Pacoima and one particular non-profit organization: Pacoima Beautiful. It begins by examining the structural causes of this inequality by exploring the political economy of low-income Latino communities and their geographical expression. It then centers on how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) education could be used at a local level (with the help of non-profits) as a form of social justice activism to contest environmental injustices in this community.


Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Pacoima, Education, Environmental Injustice