Parqués : an exploration of cultural identity and accessibility of public parks : a comparison between Hispanic and White neighborhood parks in Austin, TX




Vazquez-Mejia, Saul Israel

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Public parks are important elements in the community and can play a major factor in community building. They serve as spaces where people interact, exercise, and can be spaces where cultural expression take place. There are numerous studies showing that park accessibility is linked to park proximity, however, accessibility is a multi-faceted word and can be defined in multiple ways. Park accessibility can refer to park distribution, proximity, safety, quality, and size. While the field of City Planning is centered around the notion of creating a just, sustainable, and structured future for cities and its residents, racist undertones have directly impacted the built environment throughout history. Direct and indirect racist ideologies have shaped the development of public space and park planning, park design and distribution. Since environmental justice issues often affect communities of color, the quality, quantity, and types of amenities that are offered at public parks is an important area to investigate. The site chosen for this study is Austin, Texas. Austin has been and is experiencing major population growth, which is increasingly making the city demographically diverse. “The City of Austin has now crossed the threshold of becoming a Majority-Minority city. Put another way, no ethnic or demographic group exists as a majority of the City’s population. The City’s Anglo (non-Hispanic White) share of total population has dropped below 50% and will stay there for the foreseeable future” (COA Website). The methods used in this study were centered around field observations, and mapping utilizing geographic information systems. Mapping park and demographic data allowed me to build a comparative analysis across the eight neighborhood parks that were surveyed. This method was imperative to this research in order to bring forth and understand spatial patterns that may not have been found otherwise. Additionally, photographs of amenities were taken to capture the condition of each amenity. Park observations were conducted to understand how the community uses their neighborhood parks.


LCSH Subject Headings