Social Exclusion from Public Green Spaces: Dimensions of Sociolegal Barriers to Urban Park Access
The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of various sociolegal practices of urban public park management on the populace that can access a public park. The theories of environmental justice, critiques of distribution theory, Henri Lefebvre's right to the city, and sustainability are used as justification for this analysis: environmental justice considers the social implications of environmental benefits and burdens; critiques of distribution theory reveal the need to look beyond siting and proximity in environmental justice studies of urban parks; Henri Lefebvre's right to the city espouses the right of citizens to inhabit urban areas; and sustainability requires the balance of environmental, economic, and social factors in urban development. Applying these theories to urban parks reveals sociolegal factors that may inhibit public park use by a diverse public, namely environmental gentrification, park ownership, city ordinances, and physical layout. Each of these create barriers to park use by low-income, minority residents; even those that may live in close proximity to the park. These barriers violate environmental justice, right to the city, and sustainability principles in different ways but create two main problems: displacement and policing of vulnerable populations. This paper concludes with policy recommendations to alleviate the problems posed by these barriers.
- Rugland, Erin (Author)
- Lucio, Joanna (Thesis director)
- Kim, Yushim (Committee member)
- School of Public Affairs (Contributor)
- School of Social Transformation (Contributor)
- Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)