The social equity of urban service distribution: An exploration of park access in pueblo, colorado, and macon, georgia

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


The degree to which urban resources are distributed equitably is a research question that continues to be debated. While research dealing with urban service delivery has proliferated during the last 20 years, few studies have directly linked the spatial distribution of facilities (in the form of accessibility measures) with the spatial distribution of population subgroups in an effort to assess equity issues. In part, this may be caused by the methodological difficulties involved in trying to link these distributions. In this paper, I offer a methodological as well as an empirical contribution to the assessment of equitability in facility distribution. Utilizing data on parks in Pueblo, Colorado, and Macon, Georgia, I analyze the equitability of park distribution by comparing the spatial clustering of park access scores with the spatial clustering of selected socioeconomic variables. There is some empirical evidence that the spatial pattern of low access for Macon corresponds in certain areas to spatial clusters of high housing value and low percentages of non-White residents, while the reverse situation is true for Pueblo (i.e., low access corresponds with low housing value and high percentages of Hispanics). Thus, the results of the analysis do not support the notion of “unpatterned inequality” in urban service distribution. The paper is an application of ideas from exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) and represents a new approach to the investigation of equity in the distribution of urban park facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-541
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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