Research Article

From Environmental Racism to Environmental Reparation: The Story of One American City

Publication Date:

Author: Jennifer D. Roberts


Picture a 2-mile-long, 200-foot-wide parkway bordered by rows of Maple and Elm trees with a bridleway down the middle that connects to a 350-acre park northward and a 56-acre park southward. Now imagine the benefits of walking, biking, or playing that individuals, families, and an entire community would receive from living near this parkway. At one point, this was a reality for a predominately Black American district in Buffalo, New York until it was ravaged and replaced with a six-lane intrusive highway. Decades later and endowed with a $55 million grant, the city and state commit to restoring the parkway and reconnecting the community devasted by environmentally racist planning. Will this reparation improve or remedy this generational loss and depredation? Only time can tell, but let’s start at the beginning of the story.