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Working Paper

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This article describes a new course (Environmental Justice Movement) initiated at the College of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of New Orleans in the Spring of 1995. It was designed as a companion to another course, Environmental Planning. The course objectives are to prepare planning students to engage in the environmental policy debate by exposing them to its historical, moral, and technical dimensions, and by examining strategies and tactics of planning practice that would enable them to apply their analytic and research skills to appropriate roles of advocacy and mediation and community planing. It is argued that if planning educators are to prepare students to perform planning roles appropriately in the environmental justice struggle, then we have the responsibility to ensure that they have the opportunity to consider the issues deemed essential for the performance of those roles. The course seeks to connect the environmental justice movement with social movement theory (organizing for social justice), concepts of procedural justice, social justice and advocacy and equity planning. It integrates propositions and concepts about the politics of planning, land use policies and practices with political philosophy, populist beliefs, and what Perry (1995) calls "the street-level Rawlsian approach."