Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


This paper addresses the politics of urban green spaces which includes the issue of their inequitable distribution as well as related issues that can arise when communities do not have access to such spaces. There are a variety of types of urban green spaces, however, this paper will be focused on public parks. Together, such outdoor spaces can create cultural, recreational, and community building opportunities that are able to improve environmental and human health. Chapter 1 presents data about the existence and usage of urban green spaces around the world and in New York City in particular. Chapter 2 uses the discipline of history to look back at the emergence of urban green spaces, what they were used for, and how they continue to develop. Chapter 3 looks through the lens of environmental justice to address the ethical dimensions surrounding access to and availability of urban green spaces. Chapter 4 uses the discipline of political science and examines governance issues regarding the existence and availability of urban green spaces in New York City. Chapter 5 recommends policy changes for New York City with a focus on government policy. My internship at the Marine Park Alliance in Brooklyn is used as a case study throughout this paper.