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Access to Green Space in Los Angeles, USA


The city of Los Angeles has one of the lowest percentages of green space of any major U.S. urban center. Minority and low income communities are disproportionately impacted by this lack of green space which contributed to negative mental and physical health outcomes.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Access to Green Space in Los Angeles, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:California
Location of conflict:Los Angeles
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Green Space
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Only 29% of L.A. residents live within a quarter mile of a park. Minority residents are disproportionally impacted by this problem with predominantly white neighborhoods having 31.8 acres of park space for every 1,000 people, while African American neighborhoods have only 1.7 acres and Latino neighborhoods 0.6 acres.

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Project area:130,276 (city of LA)
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:1980
Relevant government actors:City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority, LA Conservation Corps, The City Project, People for Parks, Natural Resoure Defense Council, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. Treepeople
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
low income groups, minorities
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
New legislation
Development of alternatives:The city continues to attempt new park initiatives although privatization of parks remains financial one of the most popular options.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There is still a serious inequity of access to green spaces for minority communities despite.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Wolch,Wolch, J., Wilson J.P. & Fehrenbach, J. 2005. Parks and parks funding in Los Angeles: An equity mapping analysis. Urban Geography. 26:4-35

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

'Human Impact Partners'

Parks and open space are not equally distributed.
[click to view]

Environmental Justice and Urban Programs, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, 2012.
[click to view]

HEALTHY PARKS, SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES: Green Access and Equity for Orange County
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Long form LA Weekly piece on green space.
[click to view]

Other comments:This is one of the top 40 influential environmental justice cases in the United States identified from a national survey of environmental activists, scholars and other leaders by graduate students at the University of Michigan
Meta information
Contributor:Katy Hintzen, [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update07/05/2015
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