What Shapes Uneven Access to Urban Amenities? Thick Injustice and the Legacy of Racial Discrimination in Denver’s Parks

Alessandro Rigolon, Jeremy Németh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Like other urban amenities, parks are unevenly distributed throughout cities, with advantaged groups enjoying better access to better parks than more disadvantaged residents. Although such inequities are well documented, we know less about the mechanisms that shape them. We conduct a case study in Denver that includes a GIS analysis and interviews with local planners and historians. We find that while park funding systems have tended to steer investments into richer neighborhoods, racially discriminatory land use and housing policies that shape where low-income people of color can live have produced some of the deepest and most persistent inequities in access to parks. Recent improvements in park access for low-income people of color are based less on equity-oriented efforts by public agencies and more on residential location choices of affluent white residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-325
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 25 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • environmental justice
  • land use planning
  • racial discrimination
  • segregation
  • urban green space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies

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