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Planning for environmental justice in an urban national park

Jason Byrne, Jennifer Wolch and Jin Zhang

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2009, vol. 52, issue 3, 365-392

Abstract: Urban national parks were designed in the 1970s to bring nature and recreational opportunities to socio-economically disadvantaged communities in the USA. Using the theoretical frame of environmental justice, this paper discusses findings of a recent survey of visitors to Los Angeles' Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area - the United States' largest urban national park. Findings show park visitors were predominantly white, affluent, and lived nearby. People of colour travelled further, were significantly less likely to be return visitors, and were less inclined to use the park for active recreation. Seemingly, this park fails to meet the needs of the disadvantaged urban communities for whom it was created, a problem that may also affect other parks in the United States and potentially parks in other countries. Park planners and managers can take practical steps to increase accessibility to this park for people of colour and low-income earners, and should monitor other parks for patterns of ethno-racially differentiated access and utilisation.

Keywords: urban national parks; race; ethnicity; environmental justice; Los Angeles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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DOI: 10.1080/09640560802703256

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Journal of Environmental Planning and Management is currently edited by Dr Neil Powe, Dr Ken Willis and George Bill Page

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