Case Study



The Problem

The San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District struggled with maintaining productive relationships with Bay Area communities dealing with environmental justice issues. The Air District asked Community Focus to help develop better communication between these communities and the Air District, and to help them better understand ways the Air District could be helpful.

What We Did

Community Focus conducted stakeholder interviews in the communities identified by the Air District. We listened carefully to concerns and held meetings to ascertain the level of interest in participating. Based on community input, we focused on two areas: North Richmond and East Palo Alto.

For these two communities we chose the “resource team” approach – a similar process to the one we developed for the Air District’s Spare the Air Program – to create a working partnership between the Air District and the community. The resource teams, composed of community leaders and other residents, require all participants (including the Air District) to take responsibility for developing and implementing projects that lead to concrete results.


  • Developed a monthly “Report to the Community” that reports on closed notices of violation by businesses in Contra Costa County

  • Conducted an “Environmental Justice Summit” for the community that brought together environmental justice organizations

  • In cooperation with Richmond Sanitary Services, hosted a roundtable luncheon addressing retrofit issues for local companies using diesel engine vehicles

  • Brought in Laidlaw Education Services (the largest private contractor of school transportation services in the country) to work with the Air District to retrofit school bus engines to reduce diesel emissions

  • Developed and implemented a method for monitoring air quality, resulting in three air monitors being placed in East Palo Alto to collect data on particulate matter pollution

  • Presented a Community Workshop on Air Quality, two years running

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