Static or shifting: Quantifying the relationship between income and green space in urban Halifax, Nova Scotia (2001-2016)
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Urbanization can have damaging effects on many cities by exacerbating existing social and environmental inequalities. Income inequality can have implications on urban environments particularly if it leads to strong physical polarization of income groups within the physical limits of a city. As cities become increasingly polarized with respect to income, there is evidence to suggest the inequitable distribution of environmental amenities (e.g., urban forest, lakes etc.) may follow. This outcome is an important sustainability issue given the known environmental and health benefits associated with green space access. In this study, the spatial distribution of median household income in urban Halifax was evaluated using local indicators of spatial autocorrelation (LISA) to estimate the degree of polarization of income groups from 2001-2016. Over 15-years, spatially distinct regions in Halifax were identified that have remained predominately high- and low-income, with other areas emerging with the expansion of highincome into new suburban developments. In this study PlanetScope (4-band VIS-NIR) satellite imagery was used to quantify % tree canopy and % short vegetation features which are important aspects of green space. Tree canopy was unevenly distributed with low-income neighbourhoods having less availability during the 15-year study-period. The results of this study suggest there is some relationship between income and distribution of green space in Halifax.