Assessing the equity implications of greenspace distribution in an arid region

Abdelatif B Eldeb, University of Texas at El Paso


In the last few decades, vegetation deterioration is receiving increased attention because of its adverse impacts on societal and human health, environmental sustainability, and quality of life. I have selected two cities in Chihuahua Desert region (El Paso and Juarez) as case study sites to develop a novel and applicable methodology for integrating remotely sensed data of different spectral and spatial resolutions into an analysis of the spatial distribution of an urban amenity. The primary objective of this research is to determine if the spatial distribution of greenspace in 2010 is equitable with respect to socio-demographics in El Paso and in Juarez and to understand why the results for the two studied cities may be similar or different. To provide contextual background for this objective, the following two sub-objectives have been identified to characterize greenspace in the study area: assess vegetation change over a thirty year period from 1984 to 2010 to provide insight into how the distribution of vegetation may change in the future, and examine the relationship between Land Surface Temperature (LST) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in the study area during the year 2010. Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing (RS), and spatial regression methods were used as tools to achieve objectives of this study. The results for the main objective indicates that in El Paso there are not serious inequities related to socially vulnerable groups having less access to green space; the only serious inequity is the lack of greenspace in high density urban neighborhoods. In Juarez, the association between neighborhoods with more renters and less greenspace conforms to a traditional pattern of inequity. Results also show El Paso recorded larger increases in vegetation between the years 1984 and 2010, while Juarez witnessed a small increase in vegetation between 1984 and 2000, and it underwent a decline in vegetation from the period of 2000 to 2010. Lower levels of vegetation coverage in the study area were also associated with higher land surface temperatures, and vice versa.^ Generally, this dissertation cast lights on an important issue in understanding the inequity distribution of greenspace between socio-demographic groups. Mixed quantitative methodologies (correlation, descriptive, and regression) were used in order to address this issue. The outcomes and methods used in this dissertation will be a beneficial reference for close investigation of the distribution of greenspace in El Paso and Juarez in the future.^

Subject Area

Sociology, Environmental Justice

Recommended Citation

Eldeb, Abdelatif B, "Assessing the equity implications of greenspace distribution in an arid region" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3609480.