American Dream Mall: Bergen County’s Future Environmental Injustice Nightmare
Alexandra Vidal is currently a History master’s student at Rutgers-Newark. Her research interests are centered primarily on women and racial injustice issues. She chose to write about the building of the American Dream Mall in the Meadowlands of New Jersey because of the turbulent path that led up to its construction and what its existence means for the people in the Meadowlands.
Project Site Description
After almost 20 years after its inception, in October 2020 the American Dream Mall, the second-largest shopping center in the United States, finally opened its doors. American Dream is located on top of the meadowlands of Bergen County, New Jersey which has been historically polluted by industry and still has not been fully cleaned. The mall will be responsible for an increased amount of air pollution, all to provide tourists and wealthy people with another retail destination while risking the health and environment of the working class, minority populations in the area. This paper argues that this site should be considered environmental justice issue and that it is also exclusionary of working class people that live in the area.
The historical questions that the project would explore are: To what extent are working class, local residents excluded from partaking in this mall? Additionally, how do environmentalists overlook the potential environmental justice elements when critiquing American Dream?
Keywords: Class, Race, Air, Pollution, Transportation