Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2008 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

A longitudinal analysis of park equity in Baltimore, 1970-2000
Sister, Chona
Co-Authors: Chona Sister, Christopher Boone
Abstract: The present-day distribution of parks in the City of Baltimore shows that blacks, low-income, and high-need groups have greater access than others to recreational parks. This is a curious and unexpected finding given the long history of disadvantage these groups have experienced. Environmental justice theory would suggest the opposite to be true; that privileged groups should derive a disproportionate benefit from environmental goods. In this presentation we test whether the distribution of parks and people in 1970 show similar results to present-day patterns. We use three measures of equity: (1) quarter mile access to parks, (2) a needs-based index, and (3) potential park congestion. The paper concludes with a discussion of how longitudinal analyses and measures of process equity can contribute to a richer understanding of environmental justice dynamics.