Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history

SLC's Latinx Population, Environmental Racism: A West Side Story, Past & Present (Season 3, Ep. 11)

October 09, 2021 Brad Westwood, Senior Public Historian, Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts Season 3 Episode 11
Speak Your Piece: a podcast about Utah's history
SLC's Latinx Population, Environmental Racism: A West Side Story, Past & Present (Season 3, Ep. 11)
Show Notes

Date: September 20, 2021 (Season 3, Episode 11; 49:26 minutes long). Click here for the Utah Dept. of Culture & Community Engagement version of this Speak Your Piece episode which includes topics discussed in time, photos of guest speakers and additional resources and readings.

Podcast Content: Former Utah State University (USU) student Emma Jones and USU Assistant Professor of Environment and Society Dr. Mariya Shcheglovitova, shares the history and science related to the Home Owners' Loan Corporation’s (HOLC) “redlining" of Salt Lake City; and their investigations of spatial distribution of environmental hazards contained in the city’s original west side (Pioneer Park neighborhood), the railroad and freeway corridors and in the expanded west side communities (Poplar Grove, West Pointe, Rose Park, Glendale, South Salt Lake, etc.), where most of Salt Lake City’s communities of color reside.

This podcast is all about how examining the past (history) along with geographical and public health data (science) can help a community like Salt Lake City see evidence concerning contemporary health and social problems, how such evidence can play a part in solving these problems, and point municipal and community leaders towards better city and development practices.

“Scholars have found that race is the most significant predictor of environmental pollution exposure…Crowder and Downey (2010) [and they have] found that Black and Latinx households experience higher levels of proximate industrial pollution compared to White households.” This is an excerpt from Emma Jones' capstone project. Jones and Shcheglovitova anticipate their research to be used in further investigations regarding spatial patterns and terrestrial pollution in SLC. Their research connects the study of spatial distribution of terrestrial pollution to both historic and present-day planning practices which they believe perpetuate housing segregation and disinvestment in communities of color.

Bottom line: Jones and Shcheglovitova documents the existence of environmental racism in SLC. Their identification of spatial patterns led them to create an interactive map accessible in Salt Lake West Side Stories -- post 35 (see within a link to Jones' complete paper).

Bio: Emma Nathel Jones has a Bachelors of Science in Conservation and Restoration Ecology with an emphasis in GIS and a minor in Landscape Architecture. During their time at Utah State they worked on a variety of research projects concerning sustainable energy development and sustainable agriculture as a part of the Undergraduate Research Fellowship. They are currently pursuing a Masters in City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. 

Bio: Dr. Mariya Shcheglovitova is a human geographer with interests that span environmental and social justice, urban political ecology, cultural geography, and environmental history. She completed her PhD at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she worked on a project investigating present-day and historic intersections of street tree planting programs, waste management, and housing segregation. 

Do you have a question or comment, or a proposed guest for “Speak Your Piece?” Write us at “ask a historian” – askahistorian@utah.gov