Hidden drivers of social injustice: uncovering unequal cultural ecosystem services behind green gentrification

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The extent to which new greening initiatives contribute to gentrification processes in urban areas is of rising interest to researchers and policymakers, but the precise (and often intangible) aspects of green spaces that embed them within gentrification processes are not well understood. The Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES) literature offers new ways of measuring these aspects. In this study, we use geo-located social media data to assess the value attributed to CES in 18 urban parks in Barcelona, of which 9 were shown to have experienced green gentrification in previous studies. We performed descriptive analysis and statistical independence tests on 703 photos downloaded from the social media platform Flickr. Of the 703 photos analyzed, 85% were taken in parks associated with green gentrification; nevertheless, around 80% of all photos depicted built infrastructures rather than ecological features – indicating that green gentrification is not strictly about greenness and how visitors value it. Statistical results show that parks that experienced green gentrification were significantly associated with “aesthetics” and “recreational activities”, whilst parks that did not experience green gentrification were significantly associated with “cultural identity” and “social activities”. These results suggest that justice outcomes following from the relationship between urban greening and gentrification are dependent on the social-cultural associations with green spaces that the ecosystem services framework formulates, making it a potentially powerful tool for understanding how to generate more just greening policies in cities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Volume112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Crowdsourced data
  • Environmental gentrification
  • Environmental justice
  • Non-material
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Urban green infrastructure

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