North of North Street: Green Spaces, Identity, and the Middle Class
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How do residents in Halifax Nova Scotia’s North End experience and use public green spaces within the city? Researchers argue that public green spaces in cities are important for the overall health and wellbeing of urban populations, yet they are often located in areas of high socio-economic wealth (Heynen et al, 2006). Do residents of the North End, once a largely working-class area, experience any kind of “green deficit”? Drawing on fieldwork conducted in North End green spaces and semi-structured qualitative interviews with white middle-class North End residents, I argue that the latter experience nuanced green deficits (lack of wooded space). While all participants valued green spaces highly, certain conflicts over their use were apparent. Green spaces in the North End often act as proxies for larger debates about the area’s history, drawing issues of class, race, and white privilege into arguments about how local green spaces are used.