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Race, Waste, and Space: Brownfield Redevelopment and Environmental Justice at the Hunters Point Shipyard



This paper advances the concept of “waste formations” as a way of thinking together processes of race, space, and waste in brownfield redevelopment projects. Defined as formerly industrial and contaminated properties, in the 1990s brownfields emerged as the grounds for new forms of urbanization and an emerging environmental remediation industry. Through their redevelopment, the twentieth century's urban wastelands—environmentally degraded, economically divested, and often racially marked—have become sites of investment, resignification, and value formation. The concept of waste formations provides a critical framework on the ways these socio-ecological transformations rework twentieth century urban inequalities—in particular, the articulation of waste and toxic waste—and the ways they produce new geographies of environmental injustice through the displacement of toxic waste to newly waste-able spaces. This paper develops an analytic of waste formations and applies it to the process of brownfield redevelopment at the Hunters Point Shipyard in southeast San Francisco.

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