Rhodes University

Green Apartheid: Urban green infrastructure remains unequally distributed across income and race geographies in South Africa

Posted on 2021-04-14 - 12:54

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.


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Rhodes University


Zander S Venter
Charlie M. Shackleton
Francini Van Staden
Odirilwe Selomane
Vanessa A Masterson


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