Improvement, not Displacement: Presenting a dimensional analysis clarifying the relationships between urban greening and green gentrification

Authors: Daniel Sax*, University of British Columbia
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Green gentrification, urban green equity, environmental justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Research in the field of green gentrification has shown that efforts to improve access to urban green spaces and related green amenities can play a role in the physical displacement and psychological alienation of historically marginalized urban residents. However, as researchers have continued to expand the bounds of what constitutes green gentrification, conceptualization of the how the phenomenon manifests through urban greening has grown obscured. It is essential that the relationships between green gentrification and urban greening be clarified if urban planners and allied decision makers are to integrate consideration for green gentrification into governance processes. Our research presents findings from a scoping review and dimensional analysis conducted across green gentrification and related literatures. Our study is guided by two primary objectives: (1) identify the key dimensions of green gentrification as they pertain to urban greening; and (2) explore the relationships and intersections between dimensions in terms of their implications for the social impacts and outcomes of urban greening initiatives. We identify three principle dimensions of green gentrification as it relates to urban greening — conceptual foundations; design and intent; and impact and change. Our findings reveal that responding to green gentrification requires systems-level thinking and consideration for the structural influences guiding patterns of investment and development in and around urban green spaces. We recommend urban greening practices that integrate the voices and needs of historically marginalized communities and increased attention to the lived experiences of these residents in future green space planning and green gentrification research.

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