Below you will find links to our first round of surveys for the environmental justice topic areas outlined in Senate Bill 1000.
Your responses will contribute to the final version of the Environmental Justice Existing Conditions Report and inform the Goals, Policies, and Actions which will be developed for the Environmental Justice Element.
Simply select the topic area below that you are interested in providing input on to read our introduction to the topic and take the survey.
Pollution Exposure & Air Quality
Pollution exposure occurs daily in virtually every community when people come into direct contact with air, food, water, and soil contaminants—Chico is no exception. These exposures are often the result of the proximity of people to incompatible land use, polluting facilities, heavily traveled roads, or other sources of exposure. Exposure to pollution can cause or worsen negative health outcomes and make people too sick to work, go to school, or even go outside. Poor air quality can lead to an increase in school absences, medication use, doctors’ visits, and the number of hospital admissions. A livable, healthy Chico means a physical environment that supports everyone’s good health and quality of life.
Public Facilities & Physical Activity
In coordination with Butte County and the Chico Area Recreation District, the City of Chico provides a variety of public facilities such as libraries, parks, community centers, and infrastructure like sidewalks, streetlights, bike lanes, and bathrooms, to help people meet their daily needs. However, not every neighborhood has the same access to high-quality facilities and programs. Lack of access to these facilities and infrastructure can keep people from being their healthiest and decrease quality of life, especially for people who can’t afford the extra costs of private facilities.
Access to parks, community centers, and other public facilities can directly influence the level of physical activity residents of a city take on throughout their lives. Beyond physical activity as recreation, an environmentally just city will ensure that active transportation (walking, biking, roller skating, taking transit, etc.) is feasible for all residents. A city where conditions are more hospitable for active transportation stands to benefit in many ways, ranging from the economic performance of small businesses to improved air quality and community health.
Despite being located in some of the richest agricultural land in the state, healthy food remains out of reach for some Chico residents. Having good food access means that food is affordable and nutritious, and within an accessible distance from home. When healthy food is relatively inaccessible, it can lead to a number of social impacts. These include higher risks of obesity and diabetes and increased difficulty focusing at school or work due to hunger. Because food is one of the most basic needs, food insecurity can force people to make choices that place food above other necessities, like medicine or other basics.
Safe & Sanitary Homes
Access to safe, sanitary housing is important for everyone, from homeowners, to renters, to unhoused residents. Beyond being a source of shelter, a home gives families a sense of security, health, peace of mind, and center of life. Whether or not a person’s home is in a resource-rich, complete neighborhood; is of high quality and free from health hazards; is affordable and not a financial burden; and is a place where people can remain if they so choose are all factors that have a profound influence on a person’s health and well-being. The City of Chico is using two themes to assess the condition of housing in the City: housing availability and housing quality.
Feeling as though your voice matters and is heard in local decisions is a fundamental aspect to feeling a part of any community, which is why everyone should have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. This is especially true of those communities who have historically been left out of major planning decisions. Building trust in institutions and decision-making processes, engaging directly and consistently with communities who have long been affected by environmental injustice, and prioritizing improvements in historically disinvested communities can help to build a more equal foundation for a future of opportunity.
Prioritizing Disadvantaged Communities
An essential component of planning for environmental justice is the designation of communities of opportunity. Many state and federal agencies utilize different metrics for determining which communities (often census tracts) ought to be considered as “disadvantaged” or when conditions present an opportunity for improvement. Within Senate Bill 1000, there are several methods available for identifying disadvantaged communities.
The State of California uses the term “Disadvantaged Community” or “DAC” for short to refer to communities where threshold levels of certain criteria such as pollution burden, income disparity, and education attainment are met. As the Environmental Justice Element for the City of Chico anticipates addressing not only those environmental justice areas subject to the state criteria but also more local and nuanced challenges, the term “Community of Opportunity” will be used to incorporate both the state’s “Disadvantaged Communities” and parts of Chico which face heightened environmental challenges of their own.