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The El Segundo Refinery: Whiteness, Imperialist Expansion and Extractive Infrastructures


Planning for racially just futures requires reckoning with and unlearning practices of whiteness embedded within histories and theories of planning. Through archival and policy research, this historical-structural analysis identifies the El Segundo Chevron oil refinery as a center of racial capitalism and imperialism. The refinery’s formation in 1911 was not only enabled by racially exclusive policy, but also shaped the City of El Segundo through the consolidation of corporate political power at the local level. Sites of extraction, from Los Angeles to the Amazon, reveal historic and ongoing injustices, which built environment disciplines must confront in order to move forward in solidarity.

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