Thesis

Urban green space as a matter of environmental justice: The case of Lisbon’s urban greening strategies

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Abstract

In the summer of 2018 the European Commission awarded Lisbon as European Green Capital 2020 – in part due to investments made by Lisbon municipality in Green Infrastructure (GI) and new green spaces. As the city is becoming greener, this study aims to analyze Lisbon’s urban greening strategies from an environmental justice perspective. It does so based on data collected through desk-research of relevant planning documents and other studies; semi-structured interviews held with individuals working in different positions at Lisbon municipality; and field observations made in Lisbon’s green spaces. The data was analyzed while attending to the different dimensions of environmental justice (EJ), namely procedural and substantive aspects. This research finds that Lisbon’s urban greening strategies reflect environmental justice concerns by seeking to expand GI across the city and increase green space availability. However the strategies are based on a quantitative analysis of the spatial distribution of green spaces, failing to address other barriers that may prevent people from accessing and using green space. This is problematic as EJ is considered to go beyond just distribution. Furthermore forms of public participation and consultation are rather limited and are an exception to the rule; the decision-making process is based on the expert knowledge of civil servants – mainly landscape architects. As participation is seen as a central element of EJ, this research identifies a risk for Lisbon’s urban greening strategies to bypass the different needs and vulnerabilities of different social groups. Therefore, this study recommends policy-makers to include qualitative data regarding the use of Lisbon’s green spaces when analyzing access to green space, and to actively involve and recognize local residents when designing and implementing Lisbon’s GI.

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 The objective of this article is to explore some of the reasons for the growing number of participatory arrangements at the local level. An approach in terms of governance allows us to examine the underlying patterns of logic that induce public authorities to develop new policy tools such as participatory arrangements. Our study focuses on a medium-sized French city, Bordeaux, where eight types of relatively weak participatory arrangements have been implemented since 1995. The article shows that the French government and European Union have fostered this type of arrangement through a complex series of public programs and policies with the aim of rebuilding their political legitimacy by encouraging participation at the municipal level. This approach is relevant to understanding the origin of the reforms affecting local governments over the past decade.
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  Over the last decade the scope of the socio-environmental concerns included within an environmental justice framing has broadened and theoretical understandings of what defines and constitutes environmental injustice have diversified. This paper argues that this substantive and theoretical pluralism has implications for geographical inquiry and analysis, meaning that multiple forms of spatiality are entering our understanding of what it is that substantiates claims of environmental injustice in different contexts. In this light the simple geographies and spatial forms evident in much “first-generation” environmental justice research are proving insufficient. Instead a richer, multidimensional understanding of the different ways in which environmental justice and space are co-constituted is needed. This argument is developed by analysing a diversity of examples of socio-environmental concerns within a framework of three different notions of justice—as distribution, recognition and procedure. Implications for the strategies of environmental justice activism for the globalisation of the environmental justice frame and for future geographical research are considered.
Just Sustainabilities -Development in an Unequal World
  • Julian Agyeman
  • Robert Doyle Bullard
  • Bob Evans
Agyeman, Julian, Robert Doyle Bullard, and Bob Evans. 2003. Just Sustainabilities -Development in an Unequal World. London: Earthscan.
Modification of Heat-Related Mortality in an Elderly Urban Population by Vegetation (Urban Green) and Proximity to Water
  • Katrin Burkart
  • Fred Meier
  • Alexandra Schneider
  • Susanne Breitner
  • Paulo Canário
  • Maria João Alcoforado
Burkart, Katrin, Fred Meier, Alexandra Schneider, Susanne Breitner, Paulo Canário, and Maria João Alcoforado. 2016. "Modification of Heat-Related Mortality in an Elderly Urban Population by Vegetation (Urban Green) and Proximity to Water (Urban Blue): Evidence from Lisbon, Portugal." Environmental Health Perspectives 124 (7): 927-934. doi:10. 1037/0022-3514.87.3.293.
Wiped Out by the 'Greenwave': Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability
  • Melissa Checker
Checker, Melissa. 2011. "Wiped Out by the 'Greenwave': Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability." City & Society 23 (2): 210-229. doi:10.1111/j.1548-744X.2011.01063.x.I.
Lisbon 2020 Application
CML (Câmara Municipal de Lisboa). 2017a. "Lisbon 2020 Application". European Commission. Available at: http://ec. europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/winningcities/2020-lisbon/15210-2/.
Jardim Da Cerca Da Graça -Projecto de Execução de Arquitectura Paisagista | Memória Descritiva
  • Cristina Duarte
Duarte, Cristina. 2011. Jardim Da Cerca Da Graça -Projecto de Execução de Arquitectura Paisagista | Memória Descritiva. Lisboa: Câmara Municipal de Lisboa.
Social and Environmental Justice: Diversity in Access to and Benefits from Urban Green Infrastructure -Examples from Europe
  • Liz O'brien
  • Rik De Vreese
  • Anton Stahl Olafsson
  • Tuija Sievänen
  • Michael Brennan
  • Mercedes Sánchez
  • Thomas Panagopoulos
O'Brien, Liz, Rik De Vreese, Anton Stahl Olafsson, Tuija Sievänen, Michael Brennan, Mercedes Sánchez, Thomas Panagopoulos, et al. 2017. "Social and Environmental Justice: Diversity in Access to and Benefits from Urban Green Infrastructure -Examples from Europe." In The Urban Forest -Cultivating Green Infrastructure for People and the Environment, edited by David Pearlmutter, Carlo Calfapietra, Roeland Samson, Liz O'Brien, Silvija Krajter Ostoić, Giovanni Sanesi Rocío, and Alonso del Amo. Springer International. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-50280-9.
Barriers and Opportunities of Combining Social and Ecological Functions of Urban Greenspaces -Users' and Landscape Professionals' Perspectives
  • Ishtiaque Shams
  • Adam Barker
Shams, Ishtiaque, and Adam Barker. 2019. "Barriers and Opportunities of Combining Social and Ecological Functions of Urban Greenspaces -Users' and Landscape Professionals' Perspectives." Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 39 (January): 67-78. doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2019.02.007.7-78.