Environmental Injustice? Green Space Access in the Denver Metropolitan Area

Authors: Joshua Baldwin*, University of Denver
Topics: Urban Geography, Human-Environment Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: environmental justice, green space, spatial equity, Denver
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download

A multitude of environmental, social, health, and economic benefits are provided by urban green space (GS). Recent studies suggest that one form of GS, urban parks, are not always provisioned evenly in cities. People of color are especially likely to live in park-poor neighborhoods, unable to directly benefit from the ecosystem services they provide. Park access has emerged as a compelling environmental justice concern. Using census block groups and demographic information, I analyzed GS access – proximity and acreage – across the Denver Metropolitan Area. Correlation analyses show a complex pattern of environmental spatial inequalities, as well as equalities. Lakewood: Hispanic and low-education populations have significantly poor access to GS for both proximity and acreage. Population density and median year built are important indicators, due to sparse populations who live in new homes near large open space parks. Denver: minority and low income populations have slightly better access to GS than white and high income populations. This is due to Hispanic and Black neighborhoods in older parts of Denver that have many small pocket parks. Median year built is the most statistically significant factor on GS access. Aurora: all minority and low income populations have less access to GS than white and more educated residents. Population density and distance from central business district appear to be major factors on GS access. Results suggest that environmental injustice in the form of spatial inequities exist in the Denver Metro Area. Regional and city planning is needed to equalize GS distribution.

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