Greenspace, who needs it? Examining the Social Sustainability of Urban Greenspace
We should double the global metropolis by 2050 if we are to accommodate urban population predicted by the UN. Whether we spread or densifying the metropolis is at the core of the environmental sustainability debate, and yet we often overlook where urban crowding and sprawl are inhibiting community sociability. Community sociability is one of the push-pull factors associated with residential turnover, vacancies and consequently, ceaseless redevelopment – an environmentally unsustainable practice. To avoid burdening future generations with an asocial and unsustainable urban form, we urgently need to determine where between high and low urban density is community sociability most found.
My research specifically examines the balance between public and private greenspace since both fulfil highly significant roles in urban density and environmental sustainability. I distinguish greenspace types using remote sensing, public assets registers, and cadastral data; and community sociability using large scale social surveys, crime, and census data. My recent research findings suggest that: greenspace types are not socially equitable despite local Park Planning Standards; these greenspace types influence local crime rates and crime periods; and thus there are instances where greenspace socially burden particular communities which is an environmental justice issue. My remaining thesis research will examine where greenspace types socially benefit communities – place attachment, social ties, collective efficacy, and stability – and whether the private yards interact with these benefits. I expect that these findings produce a range of valuable tools and metrics for urban-planners, policy-makers, and researchers alike to build a global metropolis that is sustainable in a broad sense.