Edited by Jean-Christophe Dissart and Natacha Seigneuret
Chapter 12: Natural amenities and social justice
Dissart, Marcouiller and Schaeffer define natural amenities as place-based natural attributes that provide local benefits to people or firms. As such, these natural amenities have often been central to quality of life debates over the past few decades. As access to amenities and, thus, to an enhanced quality of life may be unequal among socio-economic groups and across space, this chapter addresses the question of the extent to which natural amenities and social justice are related. First, a theoretical connection is made between the two concepts. Most of the chapter, though, empirically addresses the amenity_justice relation by focusing on two different cases: rural lakefront property in the Lake States (USA), and amenity-driven migration in the metropolitan areas of Marseille and Grenoble (France). In the US case, qualitative experience-based and interview methods triangulated with parcel-level tax information show that the presence of water furthers inequality between long-time residents and relative newcomers. In the French case, a statistical analysis of individual migration data is used in combination with the amenity preferences of household types to demonstrate the heterogeneity of preferences between social groups for different amenities. Therefore, in the US and French cases, natural amenities are associated with economic inequalities, environmental gentrification and socio-spatial segregation processes, that is, social justice issues. These results suggest the need for greater consideration of the connection between amenity and justice in urban and regional plans.
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