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Buildings 2014, 4(2), 69-94; doi:10.3390/buildings4020069

Access to Parks for Youth as an Environmental Justice Issue: Access Inequalities and Possible Solutions

College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver, 1250 14th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA
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Received: 17 January 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Spaces for City Living)
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Abstract

Although repeated contact with nature helps foster mental and physical health among young people, their contact with nature has been diminishing over the last few decades. Also, low-income and ethnic minority children have even less contact with nature than white middle-income children. In this study, we compared accessibility to play in parks for young people from different income and racial backgrounds in Denver, Colorado. Park access for children and youth was measured using a geographic information system (GIS). Each neighborhood was classified according to income level, residential density, and distance from downtown; and then each park was classified based on formal and informal play, and level of intimacy. Comparisons between neighborhoods show that that low-income neighborhoods have the lowest access and high-income neighborhoods have the highest access to parks, and that differences are even higher for parks with play amenities and high levels of intimacy. To overcome this issue, the paper proposes a framework for action to improve access to parks for low-income children and youth and to help planners, decision makers and advocacy groups prioritize park investments.
Keywords: park accessibility; access to play; young people; environmental justice; geographic information systems park accessibility; access to play; young people; environmental justice; geographic information systems
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rigolon, A.; Flohr, T.L. Access to Parks for Youth as an Environmental Justice Issue: Access Inequalities and Possible Solutions. Buildings 2014, 4, 69-94.

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