Green effect: the most vulnerable are penalized in the city

Green effect: the most vulnerable are penalized in the city.


A scientific project of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Icta-Uab) has analyzed the characteristics and consequences of “greening” in 28 cities in Europe and North America. The result found are gentrification processes that exclude citizens from the most vulnerable social groups. In practice, these are cities in which strategies to increase municipal green areas are implemented. It is also about the process whereby the original population of a lower-class neighborhood is replaced by new residents. These have a higher purchasing power, given that they arrive in that area because they are attracted by new green spaces. 


An analysis of 28 cities in 9 countries in Europe and North America reveals that green space planning has fostered gentrification processes. This in 17 of the cities analysed. Green gentrification is more widespread in North American cities than in European ones. The cause, perhaps, is the absence of strong social policies against population displacement and less control over real estate development. The project identified three types of gentrification:

  • “Lead Green Gentrification”, where urban greening is the most important causal factor in gentrification
  • “Integrated Green Gentrification”, where greening is a factor similar to other urban developments
  • “Sussidiary Green Gentrification”, where greening is a relevant but less impactful aspect


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