Abate, Kiersten G. “Places That Make People Feel Good”. BA, Boston College, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/1955.
This research seeks to understand how, if at all, access to green and open spaces impacts community well-being. Although much work has been done in the environmental justice sector on the disproportionate distribution of amenities in low-income communities, these studies have focused mainly on the negatives such as toxics and pollutants. This research is important because it seeks to understand the importance of environmental amenities that are not available to these populations. In order to understand this relationship, I conducted in-depth interviews with nine community members and observed at four green or open spaces. As a result of the above procedures, I found that green and open spaces not only have a positive impact on community well-being, but they influence personal well-being as well. Personal well-being is enhanced by activities that foster perceived mental and physical health for individuals, while community well-being has been linked to the ability to participate in social encounters with others. Although there are many other factors that inevitably provide well-being, it is important to note that all of my interviewees believed green and open spaces in their community were a prominent contributor. This research enhances the understanding of the less visible environmental injustices low-income communities suffer. I hope that this study serves as a catalyst for future research on a larger scale that will prove the importance of access to these areas. It is my hope that cities will begin to plan their parks and open spaces in ways that will benefit the most people and that areas where space is an issue will begin to create small green areas wherever possible.