Built Environment Issues in Unserved and Underserved African-American Neighborhoods in North Carolina

Sacoby M. Wilson, Christopher David Heaney, John Cooper, Omega Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Urban planning has focused on built environment issues in cities such as urban sprawl, availability of green space, and infrastructure for physical activity. However, in small southern towns, there are built environment issues which currently either are understudied or completely neglected by researchers. In this article, we describe the built environment issues that burden unserved and underserved communities of color in North Carolina. We use a case study of Mebane, NC to describe how neighborhoods of color in this small town have been impacted by environmental injustice through the denial of basic amenities, particularly sewer and water services, and overburdened by unhealthy land uses through inequities in the use of extraterritorial jurisdiction and annexation statutes. These planning inequities create public health risks for residents and nearby populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • annexation
  • basic amenities
  • built environment
  • communities of color
  • disparities
  • environmental justice
  • extraterritorial jurisdiction
  • infrastructure
  • land use planning
  • segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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