North Carolina [Un]incorporated: Place, Race, and Local Environmental Inequity
Critical race scholarship of the past 20 years offers a robust foundation for interrogating connections between race, place, and environment, and their constitutive impacts on the lived experiences of people of color, particularly black and brown peoples. Less explored are the intersections of race and legal jurisdiction in the production of place inequities. Current scholarship from local government law, geography, environmental justice, and related disciplines suggests understanding the structure and process of municipalities may clarify how local jurisdiction shapes racial inequities in the built environment. This dissertation assesses the efficacy of the municipality as a political institution for equitable, community-sustaining, local development, particularly for black communities. Focused primarily in North Carolina, I assess three interrelated questions: First, I ask whether black and Latinx communities receive the same built environmental benefits from municipal incorporation as white communities. Second, I turn to two black towns in North Carolina to assess the extent to which black communities can rely on independent municipal incorporation to fulfill their aspirations for autonomy and resilient placemaking, focusing specifically on the development of the towns’ local water systems. Third, I consider the efficacy of black community-based institutions in North Carolina and Alabama to provide alternative forms of governance to address structural underdevelopment of black communities, perpetuated by often hostile, white-controlled governments.
African American studies
Local Government Law
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