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It's real, not fake like a park:
Informal greenspace as
anti-gentrification strategy?
Christoph Rupprecht
Jason Byrne
Envi...
Rail-side gardens – Sapporo, Japan
“Near railway lines, people often grow vegetables and flowers…You can see it a lot when...
Overview
§  Research problem
§  Theoretical framing
§  Literature summary
§  Research questions
§  Study sites
§  Me...
Research problem – ‘dirty’ natures
§  Global environmental changes (e.g. climate change)
are driving urban greening initi...
Theoretical framing
§  Environmental justice historically framed around
disproportionate exposure to harm (e.g. Bullard; ...
Causes of Environmental Injustice
§  Intentional targeting
§  Negligence
§  Property markets
§  Law & policy enforceme...
Benefits of green spaces
§  Environmental benefits
»  regulate ambient temperatures, filter air, reduce noise,
lower wind...
Disservices of green spaces
§  Environmental
»  promote human-wildlife conflict, introduce weeds and/or
pest species, low...
Liminal greenspace
§  Neither fully natural, nor fully human
§  Feral qualities – once domesticated
but now uncontrolled...
§  Previously disturbed and/or
developed
§  Spontaneous vegetation
(not “remnant”)
§  Not formally recognised,
categori...
IGS Typology
Basic types:
1.  Verges
2.  Lot
3.  Brownfield
4.  Powerline
5.  Railway
6.  Waterside
7.  Structural
8.  Mic...
Research questions
1.  Does the amount and accessibility of IGS in a city
improve overall greenspace accessibility?
2.  Is...
Research design
Two city case comparison
Similar:
§  age, morphology, geography
Different:
§  density, greenspace, cultu...
Research design
IGS
1km
10km
sampling site
50m
10m
= bird point count
within 50m2
100500
10x10km grid with 121 sampling si...
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Results – Greenspace access
Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
Sapporo Brisbane
Proportion o...
How representative was our sample?
Results – IGS, income, education
§  Income and education had no significant influence on
self-reported IGS use and freque...
Were there differences in attitudes towards nature?
Were there differences in IGS knowledge?
Figure 4.3 Respondents’ evaluation of IGS influence on daily life
Were there differences in IGS impacts?
Results – Disadvantage & IGS
§  Data: Brisbane IRSAD
Index of Relative Socio-economic
Advantage and Disadvantage
§  Calc...
Results – IGS accessibility
Brisbane Sapporo
Accessible 78% 68%
Partially accessible 7% 12%
Not accessible 15% 10%
Review ...
Discussion – IGS vs. gentrification
§  Problems with converting IGS to parks: cost, use
restrictions, displacement, eco-g...
Case 1 – IGS verge gardens
Nagoya
§  Small-scale (1km x 1m)
§  Informal use
§  Moderate benefits
§  No long-term stabi...
Case 2 – IGS river bank gardens
Sapporo
§  Medium scale (600m x 10m)
§  Informal use
§  High benefits
§  No long-term ...
Case 3 – Powerline community garden
Nagoya
§  Medium scale
§  Formalized through
agreement with utility
§  High benefit...
Conclusion(s)
§  Need to rethink our understanding of greenspace
§  Many spaces written off as ‘derelict’ may have value...
Future research?
§  Need to repeat this research in other cities
§  Would help to talk to planners and policy makers
§ ...
References
Byrne, J. and Wolch, J., 2009, ‘Nature, race and parks: past research and future
directions for geographic rese...
Interested and 

want to know more?
Blog: www.treepolis.org
Twitter: @focx
Google+: Christoph Rupprecht
It's real, not fake like a park: informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy?
It's real, not fake like a park: informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy?
It's real, not fake like a park: informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy?
It's real, not fake like a park: informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy?
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It's real, not fake like a park: informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy?

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In this presentation given at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2015, we discuss how informal greenspaces (e.g., vacant lots, brownfields, railway verges) could provide residents with a variety of benefits, while avoiding eco-gentrification. We draw upon fieldwork in Japan and Australia and discuss different approaches to using informal greenspaces.

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It's real, not fake like a park: informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy?

  1. 1. It's real, not fake like a park: Informal greenspace as anti-gentrification strategy? Christoph Rupprecht Jason Byrne Environmental Futures Research Institute AAG Annual Meeting 2015
  2. 2. Rail-side gardens – Sapporo, Japan “Near railway lines, people often grow vegetables and flowers…You can see it a lot when riding the train. I think they grow it there because they have no other space.” Yumiko, female, aged 60, Sapporo - Japan
  3. 3. Overview §  Research problem §  Theoretical framing §  Literature summary §  Research questions §  Study sites §  Methods §  Results §  Discussion §  Conclusions Canal-side IGS, Sapporo, Japan (Rupprecht)
  4. 4. Research problem – ‘dirty’ natures §  Global environmental changes (e.g. climate change) are driving urban greening initiatives §  Parks and other greenspaces increase land values §  Environmental remediation can produce environmental injustices through displacement §  Lack of greenspace can be an injustice (Wolch et al., 2015) §  How to provide greenspace and/or green infrastructure that ‘complicates and contests gentrification and neoliberalisation’ (Curran & Hamilton, 2012 p. 1030) §  Can we have a ‘more democratic, diverse and just view of what green looks like’? (Curran & Hamilton, 2012 p. 1039) §  How to avoid the pitfalls of ‘low maintenance’ (e.g. safety, crime etc.) (Brownlow, 2006)
  5. 5. Theoretical framing §  Environmental justice historically framed around disproportionate exposure to harm (e.g. Bullard; Pulido; Cutter; Pastor) §  More recent focus on access to environmental benefits such as parks, fresh food etc. (e.g. Boone et al.,; Wolch et al.) §  Political ecology: political, economic & socio-demographic vulnerability and marginality reproduce differential access to nature (e.g. Peet and Watts; Blaikie and Brookfield; Pezzoli) §  How particular ideas about nature are mobilized for specific political and social ends (e.g. Escobar; McCarthy; Keil) §  Parks as socially produced nature – spaces of control & technologies of ‘improvement’ (e.g. Cranz; Byrne and Wolch)
  6. 6. Causes of Environmental Injustice §  Intentional targeting §  Negligence §  Property markets §  Law & policy enforcement §  Invisible problems §  Lack of information §  Social exclusion Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  7. 7. Benefits of green spaces §  Environmental benefits »  regulate ambient temperatures, filter air, reduce noise, lower wind speeds, sequester carbon, attenuate storm- water, protect habitats and preserve biodiversity §  Social benefits »  relieve stress, hasten disease recovery, foster active living, encourage social interaction, moderate incivility and cultivate child development §  Economic benefits »  promote tourism, reduce pollution, decrease health-care expenses, and increase property values Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  8. 8. Disservices of green spaces §  Environmental »  promote human-wildlife conflict, introduce weeds and/or pest species, lower groundwater, release VOCs §  Social »  displace populations, health impacts (e.g. asthma, allergies), change character of an area, fear of crime, animal attacks, promote gentrification §  Economic »  increase property values, increase heating expenses, damage infrastructure, maintenance costs, increased morbidity and mortality, insurance costs, windthrow Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions Roy, S., et al., (2012), ‘A systematic quantitative review of urban tree benefits, costs, and assessment methods across cities in different climatic zones’, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 11(4), 351-363.
  9. 9. Liminal greenspace §  Neither fully natural, nor fully human §  Feral qualities – once domesticated but now uncontrolled §  Always in the middle, between things: provisional, transitional & fluid §  Associated with neglect, abandonment & decay §  Occupying the interstices - wastelands §  Qualities we term ‘informal’ §  Can marginal spaces help marginalised people? Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions Formal Informal
  10. 10. §  Previously disturbed and/or developed §  Spontaneous vegetation (not “remnant”) §  Not formally recognised, categorised or managed as: »  recreational space »  agricultural space »  conservation space Definition of informal greenspace (IGS) Rupprecht, C., Byrne, J. (2014), Informal urban greenspace: a typology and trilingual systematic review of its role for urban residents and trends in the literature. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 13(4), 597–611.
  11. 11. IGS Typology Basic types: 1.  Verges 2.  Lot 3.  Brownfield 4.  Powerline 5.  Railway 6.  Waterside 7.  Structural 8.  Microsite
  12. 12. Research questions 1.  Does the amount and accessibility of IGS in a city improve overall greenspace accessibility? 2.  Is the availability of IGS a function of socio-spatial patterns of (dis)advantage? 3.  Do income and education configure patterns of use and appreciation? 4.  Does IGS present an opportunity for ‘just green enough’ interventions Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions Rupprecht, C., Byrne, J., Ueda, H., Lo, A. (forthcoming), ‘It’s real, not fake like a park’: Residents’ perception and use of informal urban green-space in Brisbane, Australia and Sapporo, Japan. Landscape and Urban Planning (accepted pending revision).
  13. 13. Research design Two city case comparison Similar: §  age, morphology, geography Different: §  density, greenspace, culture, institutions, urban structure Quantify IGS location & type Mail-back survey 1,910 Brisbane; 1,980 Sapporo 400m radius of 121 sampled sites 3 part instrument; 33 questions 123 responses Brisbane (6.4%) 163 responses Sapporo (8.2%) Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  14. 14. Research design IGS 1km 10km sampling site 50m 10m = bird point count within 50m2 100500 10x10km grid with 121 sampling sites City centre % IGS cover Rupprecht, C., Byrne, J. (2014), Informal Urban Green-Space: Comparison of Quantity and Characteristics in Brisbane, Australia and Sapporo, Japan. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99784.
  15. 15. " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " Spatial IGS distribution in Sapporo (top) and Brisbane (bottom) survey areas Sampling sites* Percent IGS land use 0% " >0% - 5% " >5% - 10% " >10% - 20% " >20% - 30% " >30% - 40% " >40% - 50% " >50% - 60% Infrastructure Railway River Highway Primary road " " " "" " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " " 0 2 41 Kilometers Ü Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  16. 16. Results – Greenspace access Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions Sapporo Brisbane Proportion of study area % of area % of area Informal greenspace 4.8 6.3 Formal greenspace 
 (e.g. parks, conservation) 15.4 11.6 Private greenspace
 (e.g. gardens, community land) 14.6 27.4 Total greenspace 35.2 45.3 • IGS represents ~14% of total city greenspace in both cities • IGS to >85% accessible or partly accessible in both cities
  17. 17. How representative was our sample?
  18. 18. Results – IGS, income, education §  Income and education had no significant influence on self-reported IGS use and frequency of use §  Many respondents reported high affinity with IGS Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions “I think that there is a clear link between growing up in an area where children can "interact" with their environment, and environmental awareness/compassion, as an adult….I have seen areas where children grow up in high rise apartments, with only infrequent access to a sterile park, and these have been the areas of the most unnecessary (and widespread) environmental damage.” (Thomas, 41, male, Brisbane) “Today, there’s no place for young teenagers to go other than hanging out in front of convenience stores. Even in Doraemon (a very famous Japanese cartoon, Author’s note) the children play in vacant lots every day. And parks are so overmaintained there’s nothing except a few ants.” (Akiko, 42, female, Sapporo)
  19. 19. Were there differences in attitudes towards nature?
  20. 20. Were there differences in IGS knowledge?
  21. 21. Figure 4.3 Respondents’ evaluation of IGS influence on daily life Were there differences in IGS impacts?
  22. 22. Results – Disadvantage & IGS §  Data: Brisbane IRSAD Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage §  Calculated IGS site weighted IRSAD percentile §  Correlation analysis §  Findings No correlations between: IGS area – IRSAD IGS types – IRSAD Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  23. 23. Results – IGS accessibility Brisbane Sapporo Accessible 78% 68% Partially accessible 7% 12% Not accessible 15% 10% Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions “[IGS]'s informality allows more people to use the space in more and different ways. It's informality echoes the informality of our society in our youth and formative years.” (Giorgos, 60, male, Brisbane) “A neutral zone that belongs to nobody is necessary: left-over room, margins, interstices, space. A life like in the city, where human-made objects are surrounded by nothing but artificial greenspace, is suffocating.” (Satoshi, 45, male, Sapporo)
  24. 24. Discussion – IGS vs. gentrification §  Problems with converting IGS to parks: cost, use restrictions, displacement, eco-gentrification, e.g., High Line NY (Wolch et al.; Campo; Qviström; Bryson) §  Resident-led management approaches? ‘We should make them into ‘talking spaces’ people can have fun looking after and using them together, even use public funding for it!’ (Akira, 71, male, from Sapporo) §  Case comparison: IGS gardening Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  25. 25. Case 1 – IGS verge gardens Nagoya §  Small-scale (1km x 1m) §  Informal use §  Moderate benefits §  No long-term stability §  Conflict (vegetable theft) Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  26. 26. Case 2 – IGS river bank gardens Sapporo §  Medium scale (600m x 10m) §  Informal use §  High benefits §  No long-term stability §  Continuing conflict with city government Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  27. 27. Case 3 – Powerline community garden Nagoya §  Medium scale §  Formalized through agreement with utility §  High benefits §  Long-term stability §  No cost, no conflict §  Low gentrification risk: user-managed; catering to residents’ needs, not design aesthetics Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  28. 28. Conclusion(s) §  Need to rethink our understanding of greenspace §  Many spaces written off as ‘derelict’ may have value §  Spaces that are ‘just green enough’ are treasured §  Residents may value rambles and rambunctiousness §  Can we let nature ‘take its course’ in some spaces §  Could we use colonisation as a greening tool? §  Would natural experiments improve affinity? §  Can informal use create democratic spaces? §  Should planners ‘tread gently’? Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  29. 29. Future research? §  Need to repeat this research in other cities §  Would help to talk to planners and policy makers §  Need to understand safety thresholds (e.g. Brownlow) §  Hedonic modelling needed to test values impact §  Is IGS a substitute or a complement? §  LTER and social research required at many sites Review Typology Questions Methods Results Discussion Conclusions
  30. 30. References Byrne, J. and Wolch, J., 2009, ‘Nature, race and parks: past research and future directions for geographic research, Progress in Human Geography, 33(6), pp. 743-765. Curran, W. and Hamilton, T., 2012, ‘Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Local Environment, 17(9), pp. 1027-1042. Rupprecht, C.D.D. and Byrne, J., 2014, ‘Informal urban greenspace: comparison of quantity and characteristics in Brisbane Australia and Sapporo, Japan’, PLOS One, 9(6), e99784. Rupprecht, C.D.D. and Byrne, J.A., 2014, ‘Informal urban greenspace: A typology and trilingual systematic review of its role for urban residents and trends in the literature, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 13(4), pp. 597-611. Wolch, J., Byrne, J. and Newell, J., 2014, ‘urban green-space, public health and environmental justice: the challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’, Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, pp. 234-244.
  31. 31. Interested and 
 want to know more? Blog: www.treepolis.org Twitter: @focx Google+: Christoph Rupprecht

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