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Got green? addressing environmental justice in park provision

Abstract

We present a pragmatic approach to assist planners in addressing racial inequities in park access. Utilizing the Los Angeles metropolitan region as an example, we used Thiessen polygons to delineate a service area for each park, and described potential park congestion or ‘pressure’ in each park service area. Results show that Latinos, African-Americans, and low-income groups in general were likely to live close to parks with higher potential park congestion. On the other hand, predominantly White, high-income areas were typically located close to parks with lower potential park congestion levels. The park service area analysis presented here facilitates the identification of areas with greater park need and provides a pragmatic way to redress existing disparities in park access. Built into a set of web-based decision support tools, the approach fosters greater community participation and empowers local stakeholders in the process of park provision.

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Acknowledgments

Financial support for this work was provided by the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, as part of the “Green Visions Plan for Twenty-first Century Southern California” project, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as part of the Foundation’s Active Living Research Program. We also thank Jason Byrne, Parisa Ghaemi, Alison Linder, Travis Longcore, Mona Seymour, and Jennifer Swift for their many contributions to this research effort. Finally, we thank Prof. Daniel Sui, the editor of GeoJournal, and an anonymous reviewer for the valuable comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Chona Sister.

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Sister, C., Wolch, J. & Wilson, J. Got green? addressing environmental justice in park provision. GeoJournal 75, 229–248 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-009-9303-8

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Keywords

  • Parks
  • Los Angeles
  • Environmental justice
  • Greenspace