Using federal, state and local government data sources, PSR-LA has developed an interactive hazard-mapping tool that visualizes the proximity of hazardous and sensitive uses in South Central LA. The tool allows residents, advocates and decision makers to explore neighborhoods, locate both hazardous and sensitive uses in communities, and learn about the types of industrial activity taking place right around the corner from their schools, churches, hospitals, and even their own homes. More importantly, similar to ground truthing, users can submit corrections through the tool and indicate the need to add, remove, or revise an incorrectly listed use, allowing us to continuously learn from the experts in our communities: the residents.
The 500 Feet Project is long overdue. According to the California Air Resources Board’s Air Quality and Land Use Handbook, one’s health risks increase significantly when living within 500 feet of a stationary polluting source, and the consequences of this can be seen in South LA’s higher than average rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease, and low birth weight. Our tool pinpoints the 1318 hazardous facilities sprawled across South and Southeast LA, many of which are clustered near the area’s 585 sensitive uses.
In addition to being a useful tool for residents to familiarize themselves with what’s in their neighborhood, the 500 Feet Tool can also be used by community based organizations, policy groups, city government, and regulatory agencies to better understand local conditions in South Central LA. We hope the tool will galvanize dialogue and movement to identify particular solutions to the problem of incompatible land uses, and produce policies that move us closer to meaningful changes in the community.
To read more about the 500 Feet project, go to our website.