What is a Green Zone?

Green Zones use place-based strategies and community-led solutions to transform areas overburdened by pollution into healthy and thriving neighborhoods. Green Zones are areas that have experienced historic disinvestment and neglect – most often low-income communities and communities of color – where residents have been organizing for decades to reduce industrial pollution and implement solutions that address the unhealthy (and often discriminatory) land use patterns that have shaped how our communities look today.

The California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA)’s Green Zones Initiative believes in improving the conditions of those most impacted by pollution and poor planning in order to improve the lives of all Californians. With overburdened environmental justice (EJ) communities leading the way, local residents, government, and businesses can collaborate to transition toxic hotspots into thriving Green Zones. Together, we are working to cultivate vibrant communities and advance visionary policies so that Green Zones can serve as models for strengthening local economies, environments, and democracies across California and beyond.

While each Green Zone is a reflection of the specific needs, priorities, and environmental justice issues in each community, all of them lift up the voices and visions of residents first and foremost and are comprehensive, community-led, solution-oriented, and collaborative. They look closely at cumulative impacts and unhealthy land use planning while using a comprehensive approach that is based upon the principles of justice and sustainability. From plans to produce high quality local jobs and affordable housing, to providing parks and affordable organic food to local residents, Green Zones center community-led planning to sustain these vibrant futures.


Updated 2018