Fig. 3. Relation between per capita income and measures of private (A, B) and public (C) green infrastructure, including the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and fractional tree cover. NDVI and tree cover values are expressed as percentage relative differences to respective district municipality means. Data points represent census tracts and are faded to highlight densities.
Urban green infrastructure provides ecosystem services that are essential to human wellbeing. A dearth of national-scale assessments in the Global South has precluded the ability to explore how political regimes, such as the forced racial segregation in South Africa during and after Apartheid, have influenced the extent of and access to green infrastructure over time. We investigate whether there are disparities in green infrastructure distributions across race and income geographies in urban South Africa. Using open-source satellite imagery and geographic information, along with national census statistics, we find that public and private green infrastructure is more abundant, accessible, greener and more treed in high-income relative to low-income areas, and in areas where previously advantaged racial groups (i.e. White citizens) reside.