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Measuring Urban Greenspace Distribution Equity: The Importance of Appropriate Methodological Approaches

Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield, Floor 13, The Arts Tower, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(6), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8060286
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 15 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract

Urban greenspace can provide physical and mental health benefits to residents, potentially reducing health inequalities associated with socioeconomic deprivation. The distribution of urban greenspace is an important social justice issue, and consequently is increasingly studied. However, there is little consistency between studies in terms of methods and definitions. There is no consensus on what comprises the most appropriate geographic units of analysis or how to capture residents’ experience of their neighbourhood, leading to the possibility of bias. Several complementary aspects of distribution equity have been defined, yet few studies investigate more than one of these. There are also alternative methods for measuring each aspect of distribution. All of these can lead to conflicting conclusions, which we demonstrate by calculating three aspects of equity for two units of aggregation and three neighbourhood sizes for a single study area. We make several methodological recommendations, including taking steps to capture the relevant neighbourhood as experienced by residents accurately as possible, and suggest that using small-area aggregations may not result in unacceptable levels of information loss. However, a consideration of the local context is critical both in interpreting individual studies and understanding differing results. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban greenspace; equity mapping; inequality; geographic information systems; modifiable areal unit problem; unknown geographic context problem urban greenspace; equity mapping; inequality; geographic information systems; modifiable areal unit problem; unknown geographic context problem
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Mears, M.; Brindley, P. Measuring Urban Greenspace Distribution Equity: The Importance of Appropriate Methodological Approaches. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 286.

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