Investigation on urban greenspace in relation to sociodemographic factors and health inequity based on different greenspace metrics in 3 US urban communities


Study results are inconclusive regarding how access to greenspace differs by sociodemographic status potentially due to lack of consideration of varying dimensions of greenspace. 
We investigated how provision of greenspace by sociodemographic status varies by greenspace metrics reflecting coverage and accessibility of greenspace. 
We used vegetation levels measured by Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), percent of greenspace, percent tree cover, percent tree cover along walkable roads, and percent of people living ≤500m of a park entrance (park accessibility). We considered data for 2008-2013 in Census block groups in 3 US regions: New Haven, Connecticut; Baltimore, Maryland; and Durham, North Carolina. We examined geographical distribution of greenspace metrics and their associations with indicators of income, education, linguistic isolation, race/ethnicity, and age. We used logistic regression to examine associations between these greenspace metrics and age-standardized mortality controlling for sociodemographic indicators. 
Which region had the highest greenspace depended on the greenspace metric used.  An interquartile range (33.6%) increase in low-income persons was associated with a 6.2% (95%CI: 3.1, 9.3) increase in park accessibility, whereas it was associated with 0.03 (95% CI: -0.035, -0.025) to 7.3% (95% CI: -8.7, -5.9) decreases in other greenspace metrics. A 15.5% increase in the lower-education population was associated with a 2.1% increase (95%CI: -0.3%, 4.6%) in park accessibility but decreases with other greenspace metrics (0.02 to 5.0%). These results were consistent across the 3 study areas. The odds of mortality rate more than the 75th percentile rate were inversely associated with all greenspace metrics except for annual average EVI (OR 1.27, 95% CI: 0.43, 3.79) and park accessibility (OR 1.40, 95% CI: 0.52, 3.75).
Environmental justice concerns regarding greenspace differ by the form of natural resources, and pathways of health benefits can differ by form of greenspace and socioeconomic status within communities. 
Publication Date: 
S Heo and ML Bell
J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 33(2);218-228

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2022