Environmental Justice

Main content

The project "Environmental Justice – Social Distribution, Justice Evaluations and Acceptance Levels of Unfavorable Local Environmental Conditions" is focused on the social distribution of environmental conditions and how it is perceived by the population.

This is a joint project of the University of Bern, the University of Göttingen, the University of Mainz and ETH Zurich.

The Social Distribution of Environmental Conditions

The social distribution of environmental conditions and how this is perceived by the population are two central topics of environmental justice research. The present project addresses these and further aspects of the issue of environmental justice. This is done by studying and comparing four urban agglomerations: Bern, Zurich, Hannover and Mainz.

The study will focus on four research questions:

  1. Do urban citizens see local environmental conditions as an important aspect of their quality of life, and are there significant differences of these priorities according to social strata?
  2. How strong is the social gradient of residential environmental risks in Swiss and German urban agglomerations?
  3. To which extent do urban citizens perceive and evaluate the distribution of local environmental threats as unjust or unfair, and which individual characteristics and situational factors influence these justice evaluations?
  4. Which factors determine the acceptance of or – conversely – protest against unfavorable local environmental conditions, and what is the special role of justice considerations and justice evaluations in this process of the formation of political protest?

The main data of the study will be mail surveys with about 1,000 citizens in each agglomeration. These data will be supplemented by a follow-up online survey, by qualitative interviews with experts and by objective data on environmental burdens such as noise and air pollution (particulate matter, nitrous gases, ozone). These data on environmental burdens will be connected to the survey data and analyzed using a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Project Group

The project is run as a collaboration of the following partners:


University of Bern
Chair of Sustainable Social Development

ETH Zürich
Chair of Sociology


University of Göttingen
Institute of Sociology

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Institute of Sociology

Page URL: http://www.socio.ethz.ch/en/research/environmentaljustice.html
Wed Jul 26 04:32:36 CEST 2017
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