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Environmental Justice


The City of San Diego will be working with its communities to update the policies in the City’s General Plan through the development of an Environmental Justice Element, or chapter. Updating policies and guidelines in the General Plan to work toward Environmental Justice is an important step to achieving equity and supporting all San Diegans to reach their full potential.

Strategic Plan Priority Areas of Focus

This initiative focuses on the following priority areas of the Strategic Plan:

Protect & Enrich Every Neighborhood

Includes policies that plan for cleaner air, high quality public spaces, safe and healthy homes, and other necessities that make great communities in traditionally underserved communities.

Champion Sustainability

Furthers clean air and safe and enjoyable access to critical public spaces for the people that live and work in our communities.

Foster Regional Prosperity

Healthy communities foster economic prosperity not just for community members but also provide opportunities for improved regional prosperity as well.

What is the General Plan and how does it affect my community?

The General Plan is a citywide policy document that guides future development.  The General Plan does not directly result in projects in our communities, but instead it plans for and guides future city actions. Community plans, City Council policies, infrastructure and facility improvement programs, and annual City budgets work together with the General Plan to plan for improvements in neighborhoods throughout San Diego.

What is Environmental Justice?

There are many ways to think about Environmental Justice. Currently, the State of California defines Environmental Justice as the “Fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (California Government Code Section 65040.12(c)). In other words, Environmental Justice ensures that people of all races, cultures and incomes are equally and equitably valued, protected and served by laws, regulations and policies that impact the environment around us, including those about buildings and uses of land, transportation, parks and natural spaces, the urban landscape and city services. 

What comes next?

City staff will collect first-hand knowledge of environmental issues directly from community members. Information collected will be analyzed and Environmental Justice goals, policies and objectives will be developed. Once drafted, the environmental justice information will be incorporated in the City of San Diego General Plan. The last step in the process will include a presentation to the City Council for adoption.

How can I share my thoughts?

City planners will be working with community organizations to develop a draft a plan to engage and collaborate with community members on the Environmental Justice Element project. This plan will include many opportunities for residents to share their concerns about environmental conditions, goals for improving environmental conditions, and thoughts about how to reach environmental justice goals. Information about the draft community engagement plan will be shared on this web page as soon as it is available, and at the same time a notice will be sent to residents who have signed up for the Environmental Justice Element email contact list.

Stay up to date

If you would like to receive notices as the project progresses, including the results of the survey, please provide your email address in the form below.

Join the Contact List

Receive communications about the Environmental Justice Element.


Project Updates

In 2022, two new documents have been prepared for community review. These documents are described in and available via web link in the next paragraphs.

Environmental Justice Survey Report: A report on the results of the Environmental Justice Survey is now available. The report has two parts: the main written report and an Excel file that provides detailed analysis of responses by community.

Environmental Justice Background Review: A review of existing information on Environmental Justice-related conditions has been prepared, and a report of findings is now available. The Background Review Report of Findings provides information on conditions in the entire City of San Diego, since Environmental Justice communities within the City have not yet been identified. The entire Report of Findings document has a large file size, which may download slowly depending on your internet speed and device. To make it easier to review the Report of Findings, you can also access individual sections of the document.

Do you have any questions about the Environmental Justice Element? Do you have ideas about how we can better inform you and your community or gain additional input from San Diegans?

Please email us at publicspaces@sandiego.gov so we can connect!