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Socioeconomic disparities in access to green areas in Budapest – new study by Jenő Zsolt Farkas and co-authors

György Csomós, Jenő Zsolt Farkas, Zoltán Kovács

Habitat International–  Volume 146, April 2024 – Available online 5 March 2024


Habitat International


    • This paper investigates socioeconomic disparities in access to green areas in Budapest.
    • We demonstrated that wealthy people are somewhat privileged in terms of access to green areas.
    • We found that previous planning regimes have impacted the current spatial patterns of green areas.
    • Three risk factors were detected that can jeopardize the improvement of urban green space provision.


A growing body of literature demonstrates that the accessibility of urban green spaces may differ across ethnic, minority, racial, and socioeconomic groups. In post-socialist Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, income has become the most critical factor influencing where people may reside in a city, as well as to the extent to which they can access city services. This paper investigates socioeconomic disparities in access to green areas in Budapest, Hungary, taking multiple types of green areas into account, such as urban green spaces (e.g., urban parks and gardens), urban forests, and residential greenery (e.g., private gardens and street trees). People’s incomes were considered a proxy measure for socioeconomic status, and the spatial distribution of green areas were analyzed with geographic information system (GIS) tools. The results show that the advantage of wealthier people in terms of urban green space provision is not so pronounced, which is the outcome of a multi-layered historical urban development. However, considering the accessibility of urban forests and residential greenery, high-income people are in a more favorable position than those from other socioeconomic groups. In addition, geography seems to be a crucial constraint for high- and upper-middle income inner-city residents to access urban forests and residential greenery, indicating that factors outside of socioeconomic status influence access to green areas. Future planning policies should attempt to alleviate inequalities in green area provision; however, some inherited and recent issues may jeopardize municipalities’ ability to achieve this goal.