Equity of Access to Public Parks in Birmingham, England
Environmental Research Journal 2019
Provision of public parks has long been advocated as an equalising measure between different elements of society. This study assesses equity of park provision for different ethnic and income-status populations in the urban area of Birmingham in central England. Parks in Birmingham were categorized into a two group typology of green areas suited for more solitary and passive activities (amenity parks) or open spaces designed more for informal sports or other physical and group activities (recreational parks). Using a geographical information system, measures of access to these green spaces were computed for populations of different ethnicities and levels of material deprivation, derived from data from the 2001 UK Census and the 2004 Index of Multiple Deprivation. Distance-weighted access scores were calculated and compared for five population groups ranked by relative deprivation, and for five ethnic groups; Bangladeshis, blacks, Indians, Pakistanis and whites. Statistical analysis found that there were strong disparities in access with respect to deprivation whereby the most income-deprived groups were also the most deprived with regard to access to public parks. There was little evidence of unequal access between ethnic groups. The implications of these findings are discussed.