Who has more walkable routes to parks? An environmental justice study of Safe Routes to Parks in neighborhoods of Los Angeles

Alessandro Rigolon, Zeynep Toker, Nara Gasparian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The walkability of streets located near parks matters for public health and environmental justice. Urban parks could help address increasing health concerns in the United States; however, parks tend to be inequitably distributed, and unsafe or uncomfortable routes to parks might be additional impediments to park use. We therefore seek to uncover whether low-income ethnic minority communities near a neighborhood park have less walkable routes to parks, compared to wealthier and Whiter areas. We use Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley as a case study and a street audit tool measuring walkability through microscale variables (e.g., pedestrian facilities). We find that low-income neighborhoods near parks have higher traffic volumes, fewer shade trees, and street environments that are less clean and well maintained compared to high-income areas and that similar disparities exist between ethnic minority and White communities. These inequities could deter low-income people of color, especially children, from visiting urban parks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-591
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 19 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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