" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Environmental Justice of Open Space Amenities in Baltimore
Boone, Christopher
Co-Authors: Boone, C., J. Morgan Grove
Abstract: Environmental justice literature has begun to shift from a primary focus on disamenities, such as toxic sites, to understanding the patterns and processes that create privileged access to environmental amenities, such as open space or cleaner air. Access to environmental amenities, like recreation areas, may be a more important influence on public health (e.g. obesity rates), for example, than proximity to environmental disamenities. The unequal distribution of environmental "goods" deserves further study. This paper uses GIS methods to examine the distribution of open space in Baltimore, Maryland in relation to demographic characteristics. It also examines responses from an annual recreation survey conducted by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study in order to gauge if households value and use different recreational and open space facilities. It finds that a quarter-mile buffer from parks and open spaces covers 75 percent of the city's territory and 61 percent of Baltimore's population. African-Americans have a higher access ratio than whites to parks and open spaces. Recreation patterns across PRIZM lifestyle groups do not differ markedly, but "urban cores", communities that are predominantly black, lower income, and with less educational attainment, are more likely to use parks for recreational activities.