Socio-economic inequalities in access to nature on public and private lands: a case study from Brisbane, Australia

Shanahan, D. F., Lin, B. B., Gaston, K. J., Bush, R. and Fuller, R. A. (2014) Socio-economic inequalities in access to nature on public and private lands: a case study from Brisbane, Australia. Landscape and Urban Planning, 130 1: 14-23. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.06.005

Author Shanahan, D. F.
Lin, B. B.
Gaston, K. J.
Bush, R.
Fuller, R. A.
Title Socio-economic inequalities in access to nature on public and private lands: a case study from Brisbane, Australia
Journal name Landscape and Urban Planning   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0169-2046
Publication date 2014-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.06.005
Open Access Status
Volume 130
Issue 1
Start page 14
End page 23
Total pages 10
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
• Tree cover is higher in more socio-economically advantaged neighbourhoods in Brisbane, Australia.
• This socio-economic bias occurs on both public parkland and residential yards.
• High quality remnant vegetation is much more even shared across the socio-economic gradient.
• Most tree cover across the city occurs within residential yards.
• Thus, greening efforts on private land could help promote equal access to nature.

Opportunities to experience nature are important for human wellbeing, yet they are often inequitably distributed across society. Socio-economic variation can explain some of this inequity, but there has been relatively limited consideration of how access to different kinds of nature experiences varies across society. Here we examine how tree cover (as a measure of the general ‘greenness’ of urban environments) and native remnant vegetation cover (as a measure of access to higher quality natural areas) varies across the socio-economic gradient within public parkland and residential yards in Brisbane, Australia. We found that most tree cover was provided on residential land, and spatial regression models revealed that tree cover in both public parkland and private spaces was strongly positively related to socio-economic advantage. Conversely, most remnant vegetation cover was located on public parkland, and this was only weakly positively related to socio-economic status. These results suggest that municipal management of remnant vegetation can support equity in access to high quality nature experiences across the socio-economic gradient. However, the results also highlight the important role of residential yards in providing access to nature in general, as these areas provide the majority of overall tree cover. Thus, while public policy can enhance equity in access to nature on public lands, strategies such as social marketing and incentives that enhance nature within private spaces are important particularly within more disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
Keyword Urban green space
Neighbourhood age
Public parkland
Residential yards
Vegetation cover
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 16 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 18 Jul 2014, 15:01:04 EST by Dr Richard Fuller on behalf of School of Biological Sciences