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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 916; doi:10.3390/ijerph14080916

Socioeconomic Inequalities in Green Space Quality and Accessibility—Evidence from a Southern European City

EPIUnit–Instituto de Saúde Pública, Universidade do Porto, 4050-600 Porto, Portugal
Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade do Porto, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 July 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Achieving Environmental Health Equity: Great Expectations)
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Background: The provision of green spaces is an important health promotion strategy to encourage physical activity and to improve population health. Green space provision has to be based on the principle of equity. This study investigated the presence of socioeconomic inequalities in geographic accessibility and quality of green spaces across Porto neighbourhoods (Portugal). Methods: Accessibility was evaluated using a Geographic Information System and all the green spaces were audited using the Public Open Space Tool. Kendall’s tau-b correlation coefficients and ordinal regression were used to test whether socioeconomic differences in green space quality and accessibility were statistically significant. Results: Although the majority of the neighbourhoods had an accessible green space, mean distance to green space increased with neighbourhood deprivation. Additionally, green spaces in the more deprived neighbourhoods presented significantly more safety concerns, signs of damage, lack of equipment to engage in active leisure activities, and had significantly less amenities such as seating, toilets, cafés, etc. Conclusions: Residents from low socioeconomic positions seem to suffer from a double jeopardy; they lack both individual and community resources. Our results have important planning implications and might contribute to understanding why deprived communities have lower physical activity levels and poorer health. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban health; green areas; built environment; physical activity; environmental justice urban health; green areas; built environment; physical activity; environmental justice

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hoffimann, E.; Barros, H.; Ribeiro, A.I. Socioeconomic Inequalities in Green Space Quality and Accessibility—Evidence from a Southern European City. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 916.

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