Skip directly to content

APLA Graduate Students Win Outstanding Planning Award

Graduate students Joshua Cameron and Kenneth Dale Speetjens won the 2014 Outstanding Planning Award for a Planning Student Project for their research with landscape architecture professor, Charlene LeBleu, FASLA, AICP, on the impacts of commercial solid waste landfills on minority populations in Alabama. The award is given by the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association (AL APA).

The State of Alabama is currently accepting five times more waste than it generates annually. For profit commercial waste management facilities have begun to spring up across the state particularly in minority areas. This study maps correlations between the location of for-profit commercial landfills in Alabama and areas of high minority demographics. Cameron and Speetjens mapped data showing solid waste landfills using public data from then Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Though this public data has been available for years, no agency has mapped the correlation between location of landfills and minority demographic areas in the State of Alabama. The project addresses the need for public agencies to warrant studies of the data they collect and share the results with Alabama citizens.

“These maps show that one in five Alabamians living within ten miles of a landfill live on $15,000 or less a year (Figure 1). Of the 870,069 Alabamians (U.S. Census, 2010) living below the poverty line, 37 percent of them are living within ten miles of a landfill (Figure 2). Roughly one third of the people living within ten miles of a landfill are African American (Figure 3), while 54 percent of the 1,266,630 African American populations live within ten miles of a landfill (Figure 4). Over one half of all Hispanics and 45 percent of Native Americans in Alabama live within ten miles of a landfill (Figure 5). These troubling facts revealed by this study show the poor, and minority populations in the state are forced to live near waste. This spatial study only examines residents living near landfills and does not examine hazardous waste sites, brownfields, manufacturing sites, or similar problematic land.”

Map of Commercial Solid Waste Landfills in Alabama

Figure 1—Location of Commercial
Solid Waste Landfills in Alabama

Map of Total Acres of Solid Waste Landfill Verses Income under $30,000 per Year

Figure 2—Total Acres of Solid
Waste Landfill Verses Income
under $30,000 per Year

Map of Tons of Solid Waste Per Day Verses % of Black or African

Figure 3—Tons of Solid Waste Per
Day Verses % of Black or African
American Origin

Map of Tons of Solid Waste Per Day Verses % Hispanic Origin

Figure 4—Tons of Solid Waste Per
Day Verses % Hispanic Origin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faculty: