UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Environmental Inequalities in Ecosystem Services Benefits of Green Infrastructure: A Case Study from China Xiong, Guoling; He, Rongxiao; Wang, Guangyu; Hong, Jingke; Jin, Yawen

Abstract

Rapid urbanization is widespread globally, particularly impacting developing countries. In the face of climate challenges and shrinking public spaces resulting from urbanization, the significance of green infrastructure (GI) for human well-being and sustainability has increasingly taken center stage. This study employs an array of social-environmental benefits to evaluate GI’s contributions to human well-being, including mitigation of the urban heat island (UHI) effect, recreational functions, enhanced landscape connectivity, and efficient stormwater management. By mapping GI’s advantages, we scrutinized tradeoffs and ‘hot spots’ linked to these benefits within a metropolitan region. Moreover, we correlated GI’s advantages with the well-being of different socio-economic status (SES) groups by global and local regression. The study reveals environmental inequality, with higher SES areas—such as affluent and well-educated neighborhoods—providing superior and multifaceted GI benefits. The income coefficient is significantly positively correlated with the recreation function at the 1% significance level, while the coefficient for education is significant at the 10% level. Moreover, the income coefficient (0.349) surpasses the education coefficient (0.012). Our research also highlights that accessibility to GI’s recreational services may be an essential and overlooked indicator of environmental justice, especially for communities with a high proportion of elderly and low-income individuals.

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CC BY 4.0