Rationality as social justice and the spatial-distributional analysis of risk

Raul P. Lejano, Bill Piazza, Douglas Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policy analysis is driven by a dominant normative stance that conflates the notion of social welfare with some notion of collective good or, even more restrictively, strictly utilitarian notions of aggregate benefit. In this paper, we suggest how this perspective leads to a strongly aggregative analysis that masks concerns of actors in their unique contexts. We examine the policies of the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Los Angeles, California, USA and argue that they have strongly furthered the status quo at the expense of communities. We illustrate alternative models for analysis in the hope that this type of dialectic might lead to a more inclusive model of rationality. We also hope to take the conversation deeper into notions of justice and not farther away from them, as some attempts to broaden the discussion by appealing to notions of democratization, civic governance, or modernization naively do.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-888
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Rationality as social justice and the spatial-distributional analysis of risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this