Access to Urban Green Space in Cities of the Global South: A Systematic Literature Review

Alessandro Rigolon, Matthew H. E. M. Browning, Kangjae Lee, Seunguk Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review examines disparities in access to urban green space (UGS) based on socioeconomic status (SES) and race-ethnicity in Global South cities. It was motivated by documented human health and ecosystem services benefits of UGS in Global South countries and UGS planning barriers in rapidly urbanizing cities. Additionally, another review of Global North UGS studies uncovered that high-SES and White people have access to a higher quantity of higher quality UGSs than low-SES and racial-ethnic minority people but that no clear differences exist regarding who lives closer to UGS. Thus, we conducted a systematic review to uncover (1) whether UGS inequities in Global North cities are evident in Global South cities and (2) whether inequities in the Global South vary between continents. Through the PRISMA approach and five inclusion criteria, we identified 46 peer-reviewed articles that measured SES or racial-ethnic disparities in access to UGS in Global South cities. We found inequities for UGS quantity (high-SES people are advantaged in 85% of cases) and UGS proximity (74% of cases). Inequities were less consistent for UGS quality (65% of cases). We also found that UGS inequities were consistent across African, Asian, and Latin American cities. These findings suggest that Global South cities experience similar inequities in UGS quantity and quality as Global North cities, but that the former also face inequities in UGS proximity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages25
JournalUrban Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


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