The Spatial distribution of parks and crime in Seattle, Washington Public Deposited


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  • Parks help to build social cohesion within a community. Urban open spaces offer a sense of place, act as the focal points for public gatherings, and provide an opportunity for social networking (Francis, 2003; Hayward, 1989). While offering so much they are also known to be places of disgust and in some areas have been declining in quality over time; thus prompting the motivation to look at parks through the lens of environmental justice and criminology. Examining the environmental justice and environmental criminology together can help understand how injustices within the parks and planning departments may ultimately be playing a role in the idea that certain parks are crime generators, which can further encourage environmental injustice. The main objective of the study was to (1) assess the distribution of parks types as they relate to neighborhood characteristics – race, household income, and educational attainment and (2) to explore and assess the relationship between crime and park type to identify if certain types of parks are generators of crime. Using a GIS, I was able to spatially analyze the relationships between park type and neighborhood characteristics in Seattle, Washington. In addition, a buffer analysis was used to measure the abundance of crime within 800m of each park type. Findings suggested that minorities, low-income and poorly educated individuals have a lack of access to certain parks but are positively associated with recreation parks. In terms of the crime, findings show a slight significance in recreation parks being generators of crimes. While other parks did show an abundance of crime in some locations overall they were not generators of crimes. Understanding the impacts of the environmental backcloth on the presence or lack of certain public parks may lead to better planning and access to parks by all regardless of race, educational attainment and household income.
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