A scoping review of capacity-building efforts to address environmental justice concerns

Academic Article


  • Environmental justice (EJ) efforts aimed at capacity building are essential to addressing environmental health disparities; however, limited attention has been given to describing these efforts. This study reports findings from a scoping review of community‚Äďacademic partnerships and community-led efforts to address environmental inequities related to air, water, and land pollution in the United States. Literature published in peer-reviewed journals from January 1986 through March 2018 were included, and community capacity theory was applied as a framework for understanding the scope of capacity-building and community change strategies to address EJ concerns. Paired teams of independent analysts conducted a search for relevant articles (n = 8452 citations identified), filtered records for content abstraction and possible inclusion (n = 163) and characterized selected studies (n = 58). Most articles implemented activities that were aligned with community capacity dimensions of citizen participation (96.4%, n = 53), community power (78%, n = 45), leadership (78%, n = 45), and networks (81%, n = 47); few articles identified a direct policy change (22%, n = 13), and many articles discussed the policy implications of findings for future work (62%, n = 36). This review synthesizes three decades of efforts to reduce environmental inequities and identifies strategic approaches used for strengthening community capacity.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Williamson DHZ; Yu EX; Hunter CM; Kaufman JA; Komro K; Jelks NO; Johnson DA; Gribble MO; Kegler MC
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 11