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An Environmental Justice Perspective on Access to Outdoor Recreation.: Changes in use, value and planning of Hökarängen’s recreational landscape.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Environmental justice is a theoretical framework for analysing justice implications related to the distribution of environmental problems and qualities, participation in decision‐making regarding the environment, and recognition of diverse forms of human interactions with nature (Agyeman, 2002; Schlosberg, 2004; Walker & Bulkeley, 2006). The framework has often been used to address severely unjust distributions of environmental risks, but can also be useful for more nuanced studies of access to high quality environments. This analysis is an attempt to contribute to such more nuanced approaches, by exploring justice in relation to residents of the Stockholm suburb Hökarängen’s possibilities to access recreational landscapes and their decision‐making processes, as well as by examining the applicability of the environmental justice framework when analysing complex accessibility experiences.

The official main strategy for securing access to recreational land in Sweden is the Right of Public Access (RPA), which is the public right to access private land for recreation and to harvest certain natural produce such as flowers, berries and mushrooms (SEPA, 2013a, Internet). The study explores relations between the RPA, municipal planning of green areas and people’s experiences of accessibility to the recreational landscape and its planning processes from an environmental justice perspective. It consists of four interrelated parts linked to the case‐study area Hökarängen. These are 1) a historical investigation into the parallel development of Hökarängen and the RPA, 2) a comparison between green space planning in Stockholm today and in the 1940s when Hökarängen was planned, 3) a survey among residents in Hökarängen, as well as a number of semi‐structured interviews with residents, key‐informants and planners, and, 4) exploring physical landscape changes through comparing maps of Hökarängen from before the suburb was built until today.

Conclusions include that the concept of city parks described in urban planning documents from the 1940s, needs to be included in the understanding of the history of planning for outdoor recreation. This is especially important as the RPA possibly has decreased planning for outdoor recreation at a municipal level and thereby influenced the conversion of city parks’ design as well as function away from outdoor recreation. Such a revision of the historical understanding also points towards the need to discuss the RPA more critically, and to consider potential supporting strategies to secure access to outdoor recreational land, especially in increasingly dense urban areas. This is also related to the stronger dichotomies of urban versus rural and built up versus green areas today compared to the 1940s, which affects planning practices as they make green urban landscapes such as Hökarängen’s difficult to value in current planning practices. Also, analysing accessibility to the recreational landscape in a justice perspective is complex as it is difficult to determine access to what, for whom, and how it affects access to other goods and for other people. Trade‐offs between different individuals, groups, and goods at different spatial and temporal scales thus need to be addressed. Finally, efficient management is important to create the planning processes and outcomes that support justice in relation to landscape accessibility.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 77 p.
Keyword [en]
Accessibility, Environmental Justice, Urban Political Ecology, Outdoor recreation, Urban Planning
National Category
Physical Geography Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-142961OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-142961DiVA: diva2:1093910
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Available from: 2017-05-24 Created: 2017-05-08 Last updated: 2017-05-24Bibliographically approved

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