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Environmental Justice and Smart Growth



Incorporating Environmental and Economic Justice and Equitable Development


[02:28] Introduction of Mustafa Ali.

[02:52] Introduction of Carlton Eley.

[03:23] What brings Mustafa and Carlton to their work and what motivates them to work on issues of equity, environmental justice, and community revitalization?

[08:53] How would Mustafa and Carlton assess the progress made by the Smart Growth movement over the past 15 yrs?

[12:58] Carlton explains why his focus of embedding the principles of environmental justice into the planning process resonates with him.

[17:52] Have we exhausted the equitable development discussion?

[25:01] If you could implement one change or pick one leverage point that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities, what would it be?

[27:45] Carlton explains what someone could do to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.

[30:27] Mustafa explains whether you can achieve sustainability without achieving social justice.

[32:11] Mustafa and Carlton explain what the world looks like thirty years from now, if they are successful in the work that they are currently doing.


Mustafa Ali has been a national speaker, trainer and facilitator on social and environmental justice issues for the past 17 years. During that time, Mustafa has worked with communities on both the domestic and international front to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization.

Carlton Eley is an environmentalist, urban planner, and lecturer. While working to normalize environmental justice during the planning process, he has become an accomplished expert on the topic of equitable development in the public sector. He currently serves as Senior Environmental Protection Specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

EPA’s environmental justice mandate extends to all of the Agency’s work, including setting standards, permitting facilities, awarding grants, issuing licenses and regulations and reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies. EPA works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns. The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) coordinates the Agency’s efforts to integrate environmental justice into all policies, programs, and activities. OEJ’s mission is to facilitate Agency efforts to protect environment and public health in minority, low-income, tribal and other vulnerable communities by integrating environmental justice in all programs, policies, and activities.


“No one should be creating activities, programs, policy without there being a strong voice from the communities of those folks who are not only being impacted by the choices that are being made but also can be strongly benefitted and can actually help to move their communities to a much stronger place.”

“So when you actually get away from Washington—and I wish that more federal officials did that—and actually spend time on people’s porches, having a conversation with them, learning what they’re dealing with on a daily basis; in their kitchens, hearing about the things that are going on in their lives and how, if they could only get traction, things could change and move in a much more progressive and proactive way, that does something to you because it’s no longer just about theory. It’s about real people who are having real lives and who are looking for real opportunities.”

“We need to make sure that we are developing public policy that really works for those segments of the population that may be under-served and vulnerable.”

“Once you have some knowledge…it begins to change the way that you view your world and the role that you play in it and the opportunities that exist.”


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission