Environmental justice and outdoor recreation opportunities: A spatially explicit assessment in Oslo metropolitan area, Norway

Marta Suárez, David N. Barton*, Zofie Cimburova, Graciela M. Rusch, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Miren Onaindia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Urban and peri-urban green space provides multiple recreation opportunities with important benefits for physical and psychological well-being, but access to these benefits is often unequally distributed. Various methodologies to assess outdoor recreation opportunities exist, but they rarely take into consideration dimensions of environmental justice. The aim of this paper is to map and assess nature-based outdoor recreation opportunities with a focus on green space accessibility for different social groups, and discuss the results in light of of environmental justice. We use the Oslo metropolitan area, Norway, as a case study. We combine statistical analysis with spatial modelling to assess recreation preferences and distribution of nature-based recreation opportunities. We also analyse accessibility for different social groups, including children and the elderly, migrants and low-income households. Our results show that most people prefer large wooded green areas, high density of trees, and presence of water, although preferences differ depending on age and place of residence. Areas for daily recreation are accessible to the whole population in the study area, but they are unequally distributed, migrants and low-income households having relatively less access. Our methodology can also be applied in other cities and metropolitan areas to assess differences in accessibility to outdoor recreation opportunities. We discuss whether and to which extent these results illustrate a situation of environmental injustice. We conclude that the relation between access to green space and environmental justice can be complex, and that injustice may not automatically result from uneven access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Environmental justice
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Spatial modelling
  • Urban ecosystem services


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