Access to urban green spaces and environmental inequality in post-socialist cities

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Csomós, György
Farkas, Jenő Zsolt
Kovács, Zoltán
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Access to urban green spaces and environmental inequalities are increasingly on the agenda in contemporary cities due to increasing density of people, widening social inequalities, and limited access to Urban Green Spaces (UGS). This is even so in post-socialist cities where recent urban sprawl and suburbanisation could be strongly linked to the scarcity of adequate green spaces in the inner-parts of cities. This paper examines the provision and accessibility of public green spaces in Debrecen, a second tier city in post-socialist Hungary, with applying a walking distance approach. Using GIS technology and socio-demographic data of residents the study assesses the availability and accessibility of green spaces in the city, and their social equity. According to research results the geographical distribution of UGS is very uneven in the city, some neighbourhoods lack public green spaces, while others are well-supplied. This is partly due to the natural environment and the post-WWII development of the city. Research findings show that the quality of residential green spaces is generally poor or very poor. Research also confirmed the widening environmental inequalities within the local society. New upmarket residential areas, where the wealthiest section of population reside are rich in high-quality (private) green spaces. Other lower-status neighbourhoods, including some of the socialist housing estates, suffer from the lack of good quality green spaces. Authors argue that environmental justice should be a core concept of city-planning considering not only the officially designated public green spaces, but also other forms of urban green (institutional, private etc.).
zöldfelületek , környezetvédelem , városi tér , környezeti igazságosság
Hungarian Geographical Bulletin 69:(2) pp. 191-207. (2020)