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Land 2018, 7(4), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040134

Environmental Justice in Accessibility to Green Infrastructure in Two European Cities

1
Research Centre of Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being, University of Algarve, Gambelas Campus, 8005 Faro, Portugal
2
Chair of Landscape Architecture, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences—Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51006 Tartu, Estonia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Urbanism and Green Infrastructure)
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Abstract

Although it is well-established that urban green infrastructure is essential to improve the population’s wellbeing, in many developed countries, the availability of green spaces is limited or its distribution around the city is uneven. Some minority groups may have less access or are deprived of access to green spaces when compared with the rest of the population. The availability of public green spaces may also be directly related to the geographical location of the city within Europe. In addition, current planning for urban regeneration and the creation of new high-quality recreational public green spaces sometimes results in projects that reinforce the paradox of green gentrification. The aim of this study was to explore the concept of environmental justice in the distribution of the public green spaces in two contrasting cities, Tartu, Estonia; and Faro, Portugal. Quantitative indicators of public green space were calculated in districts in each city. The accessibility of those spaces was measured using the “walkability” distance and grid methods. The results revealed that there was more availability and accessibility to public green spaces in Tartu than in Faro. However, inequalities were observed in Soviet-era housing block districts in Tartu, where most of the Russian minority live, while Roma communities in Faro were located in districts without access to public green space. The availability of public green spaces varied from 1.22 to 31.44 m2/inhabitant in the districts of Faro, and 1.04 to 164.07 m2/inhabitant in the districts of Tartu. In both cities, 45% of the inhabitants had accessible public green spaces within 500 m of their residence. The development of targeted new green infrastructure could increase access to 88% of the population for the city of Faro and 86% for Tartu, delivering environmental justice without provoking green gentrification. The outcome of this study provides advice to urban planners on how to balance green space distribution within city neighbourhoods. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban sustainability; landscape urbanism; green gentrification; Soviet-era housing blocks; deprived areas; Roma minority urban sustainability; landscape urbanism; green gentrification; Soviet-era housing blocks; deprived areas; Roma minority
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de Sousa Silva, C.; Viegas, I.; Panagopoulos, Τ.; Bell, S. Environmental Justice in Accessibility to Green Infrastructure in Two European Cities. Land 2018, 7, 134.

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