An Ecological Model of Environmental Justice for Recreation

Alessandro Rigolon, Mariela Fernandez, Brandon Harris, William Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Socioeconomic and racial-ethnic inequities in access to recreation settings are widely considered environmental justice (EJ) issues. Researchers in leisure, geography, urban planning, and other disciplines have published important theoretical contributions on EJ related to recreation and parks, but such contributions have not been examined conjointly to identify their broader implications. In this article, we use an integrated definition of EJ that includes distributional, procedural, and interactional justice to connect previous theoretical perspectives on EJ about recreation and parks. First, we present an ecological model of recreation that recognizes EJ. We use the ecological model to systematically analyze the policy, physical, social, and perceived environmental factors and the individual factors that impact marginalized people’s recreation participation. Second, we connect the EJ model to theory-relevant literature about recreation and parks. Third, we present future research areas on EJ for recreation and parks with key implications for advancing justice through policy change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-676
Number of pages22
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022


  • equity
  • green gentrification
  • green space
  • parks
  • social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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