Environmental Justice of Public Park Amenities and Accessibility in Madison, WI
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This case study examines the relationship between demographics, park accessibility, and the quality of park amenities in Madison, Wisconsin. We use both quantitative and qualitative data seeking to answer the research question: is there a correlation between the socioeconomic status and racial demographics of a neighborhood and its inhabitants' access to quality parks in the city of Madison. Unlike the classic geographic environmental justice issues that generally concern the imposition of harms, this case study evaluates the distribution of benefits. To answer this research question, it is vital to develop a series of Geographic Information System (GIS) data layers and subsequent analyses to reflect accurate racial and class distributions in the city. Using this GIS model, we chose seven community parks to study that are located in areas of various demographics to best represent Madison's diversity. These parks include: Reindahl Park, Olbrich Park, North East Park, James Madison Park, Brittingham Park, Olin Park, and Elver Park. Surveying the parks to gather observational data consists of using a checklist to assess the amenities and their quality, as well as photographing the park and its amenities. Lastly, a Madison Park Department employee gives insight into the planning and maintenance of the city parks. The primary data from parks is quantified to conduct a statistical analysis and overlapped with GIS demographic data layers to answer the research question. We conclude the disparities between park amenities, park quality, and accessibility are not significant enough to prove there is discrepancy between socioeconomic status and access to quality parks.