Recurring issues in the social sciences concern the distribution of public facilities such as parks and equity of access to them. Geographers have observed that access has perceptual as well as physical dimensions and that perceptions of difference can affect use of public space. This study explores the nature of greenways as public space and a set of issues related to equity of access to greenway trails in Indianapolis, Indiana. The study uses proximity as a measure of access and simple GIS analyses of census and other data to assess equality of access. Evidence is provided that suggests that minorities and the poor have disproportionate access to trails. It is also shown that populations adjacent to the trails differ and that the populations along particular trails are segregated. Spatial differences in trail populations are associated with historic land use patterns and population movements within the city. The implications of the findings of difference for use of the greenways system are explored. Implications for management of the greenways system—including achievement of the goal of linking neighborhoods—are also discussed.
- Equity planning