New parks are great—but some projects displace the very people the green spaces are meant to serve.
“Again and again, researchers have found that access to urban green spaces – from parks to gardens to greenways – positively impacts multiple measures of health, such as community satisfaction, social cohesion and access to healthy foods.”
However, caution Viniece Jennings, Alessandro Rigolon, and Na’Taki Osborne in Next City, new parks can also lead to the displacement of low-income residents and, “perhaps counterintuitively, green gentrification can also exacerbate inequities in health, finances, quality of life and — ironically — access to green spaces.”
As the authors explain, “A scoping review on green gentrification and health examines numerous studies wherein residents experience a lower sense of community, diminished sense of belonging and less green space usage among long-term residents.” The research shows that increasing property values and a lack of renter protections can put greener cities out of reach for many households. “For example, although affordable housing was initially a part of the vision of the Atlanta Beltline, a shift in priorities and a state ban on rent control (among other factors) diminished this commitment,” the article points out.
“To support health equity as the pathway for everyone to achieve optimal health, cities must address the factors that diminish affordable housing and the consequences of green gentrification.” Some cities are working to address these issues using tools like inclusionary zoning requirements near large parks and rent stabilization initiatives.
The article concludes, “Improving neighborhoods is not the fundamental problem with gentrification and possible residential displacement. It’s the systemic force that aims to set the bar of who has long-term access to quality environments and affordable housing.”
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Santa Cruz Transit Looks to Expand
A small transit agency in Northern California is making ambitious expansion plans.
Advancing Park Equity Through Needs Assessments
City Parks Alliance, in partnership with Prevention Institute, recently hosted a webinar about park equity and collaboration, focusing on the Los Angeles Countywide Parks Needs Assessment.
California Impact Fees Reach Supreme Court
An upcoming ruling could have a major impact on building and development in California and around the country.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
City of Helena
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.