Blue-space availability, environmental quality and amenity use across contrasting socioeconomic contexts

I. Thornhill, M. J. Hill, A. Castro-Castellon, H. Gurung, S. Hobbs, M. Pineda-Vazquez, M. T. Gómez-Osorio, J. S. Hernández-Avilés, P. Novo, A. Mesa-Jurado, R. Calderon-Contreras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Over 60% of the global population are expected to live in urban areas by 2050. Urban blue spaces are critical for biodiversity, provide a range of ecosystem services, and can promote human health and wellbeing. Despite this, access to blue space is often unequally distributed across socioeconomic gradients, and the availability of quality blue space could extend to environmental justice issues. Three stages of analysis were carried out in Mexico City, Mexico and Bristol, UK to (i) assess associations between blue space and socioeconomic metrics at a regional scale, (ii) apply a rapid assessment tool to assess amenity, access and environmental quality, (iii) consider local quality across socioeconomic gradients at a regional scale. Still water availability was indicative of higher socioeconomic status, but contrasting city evolutions underpinned differences. Locally, there were environmental gradients from more complex to disturbed habitats that influenced potential wellbeing and amenity benefits. In combination, this may exacerbate inequalities and risk increasing ecosystem disservices. If cities are to be socially, and environmentally resilient to higher levels of disturbance in the future, healthy ecosystems will be key. However, further research is needed to address various dimensions of injustice in urban areas beyond blue space distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102716
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Geography
Early online date30 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


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