Impacts of Redlining on Greenspace- January Updates to Anti-racism in the Outdoors

Every month updates are made to Anti-racism in the Outdoors an annotated bibliography including organizations, presentations articles books and resources related to anti-racism in the outdoors. Look for the highlighted “Newly added” resources each month.

This month’s highlights include several resources relate to ways in which discriminatory redlining policies instituted in the 1930’s across the country have contributed to ongoing disparities in community investment, greenspace access and tree cover, and climate change resilience.  Even today, these neighborhoods suffer from great swaths of impervious surfaces that leave residents at higher risk for flooding and heat exposure.  “In cities like Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Portland and New York, neighborhoods that are poorer and have more residents of color can be 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in summer than wealthier, whiter parts of the same city.” (Plumber et al, 2020).

Redlining was a practice that designated neighborhoods by “grades” largely based on their perception of people who lived there whereby “A” areas were largely inhabited by white, wealthy people and “D” areas by lower-class white, black and immigrants. “Many of the beliefs that government assessors applied when creating the maps were entirely subjective, explicitly racist, and created or codified adverse conditions that still affect cities today ” (The lines that shape our cities, n.d.). These maps were then used by lenders to determine where financial investments should be made.  The result of disinvestment in these areas is in many cases still apparent in cities across the country.  Several of the resources highlighted this month provide interactive story-maps that guide the reader through historical background and current impacts of redlining in Richmond, Virginia, Montgomery Alabama, St Lois Missouri, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Richmond, Virginia.  Read more in The lines that shape our cities. (n.d.). ArcGIS StoryMaps. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from and Plumer, B., Popovich, N., & Palmer, B. (2020, August 24). How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering. The New York Times.

Anti-racism in the Outdoors

Resources related to inclusion, diversity, equity and access of black, indigenous and people of color in parks and greenspaces

This new resource is a guide for faculty, staff, students, extension educators, outdoor advocates, volunteers and community leaders as allies of black, indigenous, and people of color in the outdoors. Formatted as a google doc it includes compiled lists of organizations, presentations & podcasts, affinity groups, books, articles, and resources for being an effective ally. Accessible online at

The history and impact of racial disparities in parks and greenspaces has typically received little attention in American public life.  Increases in greenspace use as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the widely publicized racial confrontation of Amy and Christian Cooper in Central Park in New York City[1] have brought increased attention to who has access to and ultimately uses these resources.  In many areas, people of color are less likely to use greenspace amenities even when they have geographic access.[2],[3],[4] These inequities are the result of complex social and economic factors that include explicit racism and segregation.  As an example, Central Park, the first urban park in America, was envisioned and largely driven by powerful white businessmen for the benefit of white elites, and its construction involved eviction of a community of African American and immigrant residents.[5],[6]    Further, parks in cities like Denver[7] and Minneapolis[8] have found that inequities in park access could be traced to discriminatory policy measures such as exclusionary zoning, and disparities in funding for these amenities between white communities and communities of color.[9] We believe that understanding the history and impacts of racism in the parks and greenspaces in our communities can only serve to improve the positive benefits of green spaces to all residents.  With this goal in mind, this list is intended to serve as an information resource for faculty, staff, students, extension educators, outdoor advocates, volunteers and community leaders as allies of black, indigenous, and people of color in the outdoors

[1] Green, A. (2020, May 26). Millions of Amy Coopers. The Cut.

[2] Mock. B. For African Americans, Park Access is About More than Just Proximity: A new study shows that the legacy of racial discimination still looms heavily. A Legacy of Racism in America’s Parks. (2016, June 2).

[3] Mock, B. Want to attract a new generation to the national parks? Find a few new rangers. (2014, March 28). Grist.

[4] Hurst, N. Racist History, Lack of Park-Going Culture Among Reasons for African Americans’ Under-Representation at National, State Parks | News Bureau, University of Missouri. (June 1, 2016). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from

[5] Jan 18, C. P. C., & 2018. (2018, June 11). The Story of Seneca Village. Central Park Conservancy.

[6] Kanjae, J.L. Public Space, Park Space, and Racialized Space. (2020, January, 27). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from

[7] Forrest, S. (2018, August 31). Study: Denver’s inequities in park access traced to segregation, funding policies. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from

[8] Campbell, A. F. (2016, September 29). Inequality in American Public Parks. The Atlantic.

[9] Moore, S. Park Inequities Are Symptoms of a Bigger Problem | Healthy Places by Design. (2019, August 9). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from

New Resources on Trails and Economic Development

Over the past few months I’ve received an increasing number of resources related to trails and their economic impacts on communities so I thought it was about time to share some of the relevant resources I’ve created and compiled on the topic.  Several years ago my great intern John McDonald created this Trail Resource Page which I have started to update. Communities all over Connecticut have also been learning more about trails and their impacts, starting with a presentation in 2018 “Downtown Trails as Community & Economic Development Engines” for the Connecticut Main Street Center’s Bridge Series.   I’ve also recently posted a related presentation for the International Economic Development Council Conference in 2019 “Trails as Economic Development Engines.” Please feel free to access these slides and please cite them if used. Over the next year I’ll also be working on a new publication series highlighting some of the key community benefits of trails.  These will be short 1-2 pagers that communities can use to cite other studies and literature.  We’re thrilled to be partnering with the National Park Service on this project thanks to a Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program Grant received by the Connecticut Trail Census.

Download the 2018 Connecticut Economic Development Survey Report!

The results of the 2018 Connecticut Economic Development Survey are complete!  Read more about the report here or or download the report as a PDF file.

The purpose of the Connecticut Local Economic Development Organization Survey is to understand who is involved in economic development activities in Connecticut and how economic development strategies are conducted at the local level over time.  This information may be used by municipalities, local elected officials, and resource providers to support economic development programs that are most effective and relevant to communities across the state.  The survey was assessed as a Qualtrics online questionnaire in February, 2018 with a response period of three weeks.  A link to access the questionnaire was disseminated through the Connecticut Economic Development Association and Connecticut Conference of Municipalities list serves as well as the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and personal distribution lists of coordinating partners. The survey included 28 questions regarding the structure and organization of economic development functions, investments made in economic development, economic development programs and strategies and how are they evaluated, and demographic information about economic development staff.  A copy of the survey tool is available upon request and as an appendix to this report.  This project was reviewed by the University of Connecticut IRB and was determined to not qualify as human subjects research under 45CFR46.102.  Significant findings are highlight in bold in the text below.