Park segregation and park access: an environmental justice inquiry of urban parks in Montgomery, Alabama

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The study connects the issues of park access from an environmental justice point of view in cities with a history of a segregated park system. The aim is to understand the tacit and contemporary connotations of park segregation as a by product of historical practices. Using an environmental justice inquiry, the study conducts quantitative and qualitative assessments to scrutinize park access in sixty two urban parks in Montgomery, Alabama. The studied parks are categorized into African American and white parks based on the demography of residents living within a half mile area of the parks. The study finds that historical practices and policies of park segregation influence modern planning and contribute to contemporary disparities in park access. Park access is often conceptualized quantitatively only, while forms of quality based inequalities are rather critical for environmental justice. The study also finds that cities tend to invest in larger community parks, while small neighbourhood parks are often in disrepair and need the most attention from a racial perspective. For environmental justice, the study emphasizes the value of a holistic assessment of park access that can inform both quantity and quality based access needs for future park plans. Keywords: Urban Parks; Park Access; Park Segregation; Environmental Justice; Montgomery, Alabama
Book of proceedings: 35th AESOP Annual Congress Integrated planning in a world of turbulence, Łódź, 11-15th July, 2023
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