I used the GIS applications to conduct my analysis. In order to determine the socioeconomic conditions of the people in the areas where these green building stand, I made thematic maps using the ARCGIS Map software, for different socioeconomic criteria.
Firstly, I made a thematic map showing the White population in NJ :
As we can see in this map, the green buildings seem to be located in the areas where the white population is high.
Next I wanted to make a thematic map showing the Minority population -i.e. Blacks, Hispanics etc- and how their “areas” correspond to the green buildings. In order to do that, I added all the minority populations in the NJ Census Tract to create a new field, “minority population”. The map is as follows:
In this map, it is easy to see that the green buildings are in areas which have few minority populations. When we study the two previous maps together, we can deduce that there is a greater chance of spotting a Green building in the White populated areas as o those populated by the Minorities. As a fact, most Whites enjoy a stronger economic position as to those of the minorities- specifically the Blacks and Hispanics. Perhaps,then, it seems like the Green buildings are likelier to be in a more a affluent neighborhood.
To further investigate the truth behind this hypothesis, I created another thematic map. This time I joined a new layer onto the map and categorized it according to the Per capita income in the region. The result was as follows:
In this map we see that out of the 30 buildings shown, 12 are located in the lower per capita income areas and the rest (i.e. 18 buildings) are located in more affluent areas. The difference is not large enough to confirm that the Green buildings are built in either more or less affluent areas. Therefore, it can be said that the abundance of money does not guarantee building in an environmentally sensitive way, but perhaps it is the consciousness to protect the environment that does.
For further analysis, I joined a new layer to the original ARC Map document depicting the location of Green buildings and NJ. This layer showed the passenger rail lines in NJ (once I made the original layer 50% transparent) and the result was as follows:
As we can see from the map, there are only 3 buildings -out of the 30 shown- that are not on the passenger rail line i.e. 90% of the Green buildings are built in proximity to public transportation, namely the rail roads. I believe that this is not a surprising discovery; Green buildings by nature are meant to favor our natural environment, and it is no secret that the motor vehicles are a major cause of environmental damage (in terms of their contribution to air pollution etc). Perhaps these buildings are close to railway lines just by being in urban areas. However I think that by being closer to rail lines, these Green buildings encourage their occupants and visitors to use public transportation thereby decreasing the need to use cars, which in effect reduces the burden on the environment.
Next I added another two layers to the ARC Map document. This time these maps showed the Ambient Air Quality Monitors and the Water Quality Stations in NJ. The result was as follows:
From the map above, we can see that all the Green buildings in NJ are built close to either the air quality monitors, the water quality stations or both. I think that perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that those areas have an ambiance of environmental protection.
Finally I added a layer of Known Contaminated Sites in NJ to the Arc Map document. The result showed:
The map clearly shows that every Green Building in NJ is built on a known contaminated site in NJ. The USGBC awards LEED points to a building that is built on a previously contaminated area that is cleaned and rehabilitated. Therefore I think that these buildings are built on contaminated areas, which they clean and rehabilitate to earn valuable LEED points.