Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geography (MS)

Degree Level





Fiona Davidson

Committee Member

Jason Tullis

Second Committee Member

Edward Holland


analysis, Austin, environmental justice, gentrification, geodesy, green space paradox, Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR), Texas


Gentrification, the urban process that results from uneven development within cities, can cause unjust displacement of traditional, low-income residents in residential neighborhoods, and inequitable access to community services and benefits. Because of the negative social impacts that gentrification can have, many local governments and agencies have been known to attempt to mitigate changes by initiating different types of planning policies. Such policies usually apply changes in housing or zoning rules to enable lower-income residents to have access to housing and community amenities in the area. Another aspect resulting from gentrification that local government will try to rectify is low access to green spaces for marginalized communities in order to tackle environmental justice issues. However, when this occurs, an ironic situation can emerge within the urban core known as the ‘green-space paradox’. This study, focused on the eastern part of Austin, Texas, USA, analyzed demographic census data and green space locations within a 5-year period before and after the ‘Imagine Austin’ plan was initiated to assess the relationship between gentrification and green spaces. This study intends to provide clarity over the potential impact of green infrastructure planning initiatives and the resulting urban social changes that can occur and negatively affect marginalized residents.

This study utilized public data from the U.S. Census, the American Community Survey, and the City of Austin to analyze demographic trends near city parks for the years of 2010-2015 and 2017-2022 through use of spatial regression and buffer zone techniques. These tools revealed the parks that are experiencing green gentrification in the study area. In order to determine if the ‘Imagine Austin’ plan had an impact on the gentrification in the targeted area, the construction years of the parks experiencing high green gentrification were examined. While this study revealed that there is a correlation between proximity to parks and surrounding demographic factors, the parks experiencing green gentrification were all created before the ‘Imagine Austin’ plan was initiated. While revitalization efforts of the plan could contribute to the gentrification status of these parks, data limitations of these efforts could not provide evidence of correlation.