Daylighting equity : evaluating efforts to daylight lower-income and minority areas in El Cerrito, California




Ligons, Sydni Atrice

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In recent years there has been a push to bring nature and its benefits back into the built environment. Urbanized areas are seeing the revitalization and restoration of once buried urban waterways. This growing trend is known as daylighting and has become an increasingly popular method of bringing nature back to the city. Although nature is making its way back into the built environment, the benefits of nature have been excluded from low-income and minority communities. Park space for the lower income residents has been an issue in the environmental justice arena for years, and in these low-income areas, the lack of green space for the city’s most vulnerable is a problem that has yet to be solved. This report examines urban green planning, daylighting specifically in the City of El Cerrito, California to explore whether daylighting projects present EJ concerns in a California community and the use of analysis tools under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to explore social justice issues. The PR draws on the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) desk guide for EJ analysis under NEPA and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). That adopts the same definition and criteria of evaluation as NEPA. Smaller regional planning organizations also use this method. Using this evaluation process, I located communities of concern at the census tract and block group level in areas that were not located near daylighting projects in the City of El Cerrito. Although NEPA is primarily used for highway and transportation projects, this report demonstrates the potential of NEPA EJ tools to examine social justice issues for green amenity planning.


LCSH Subject Headings