Student Work

Mapping Environmental Injustice in Chelsea, MA


Downloadable Content

open in viewer

Working with the Department of Housing and Community Development in Chelsea, MA, our team developed a more comprehensive understanding of environmental hazards within the municipality. Environmental hazards can be damaging to the health of residents and often disproportionately affect minority and disadvantaged communities. Using data primarily from the City of Chelsea, the United States Census Bureau, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, we geospatially charted the locations of environmental hazards alongside the locations of selected demographics in order to determine whether any patterns emerged. The primary concerns of our research were determining which demographics and locations within Chelsea were most affected by certain categories of hazards, and additionally how environmental hazards impacted the health of these at-risk demographic groups. We developed a theoretical ranking method in order to highlight for our sponsor which areas need the most assistance in mitigating the effects of environmental hazards via environmental policy. Our team also developed easily-translatable community outreach materials in order to garner interest in our findings, such as social media materials and a two page summary of our project and findings. Our method of developing recommendations to combat environmental hazards in Chelsea consisted of researching short term, immediately effective reactive policy to address the symptoms of environmental hazards, along with long term preventative policies which would work to mitigate the environmental and health effects of hazards. Specific recommendations were made for the most affected locations in Chelsea, and more general city or state level recommendations were made to address the state of certain hazards in the city. These recommendations were also sorted loosely by feasibility (cost, time to implement, side effects of the policy on the city, etc.), as well as priority (whether the solution addresses multiple populations or locations, is an immediate solution versus a long term one, etc.). Additionally, we interviewed the senior public health and regional planner for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to gain insight on the intricacies of community planning, solutions to environmental issues that have been used in similar municipalities, and advice on our recommendations from the perspective of a policymaker.

  • This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
  • E-project-101121-131922
  • 38321
  • 2021
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Date created
  • 2021-10-11
Resource type
Rights statement


Permanent link to this page: