Ecosystem services provided by urban vegetation can ameliorate problems common to urban environments while improving the quality of life of urban residents. Much research in urban ecology has analyzed urban environmental dynamics in the global north; rapidly urbanizing areas in the global south have not received commensurate attention. The land cover dynamics of mid-sized cities in the global south remain under-explored in particular. In this article, we investigate the spatial patterns and socioeconomic contexts of urban vegetation in Altamira, Brazil, a mid-sized but rapidly expanding city in the Amazon. Using time series remotely sensed imagery, we profile changes in urban land cover, and link them to socioeconomic indicators at the census sector (tract) level. While studies of urban environmental justice in the global north largely report that greener urban landscapes prevail in affluent neighborhoods, our analysis reveals significantly lower vegetative cover in higher-income sectors of Altamira. Vegetative cover is also significantly lower in sectors with higher housing density, time since urbanization and better infrastructure, and appears linked to housing tenure. Studies of vegetative outcomes in similar urban environments should investigate socioeconomic and demographic contexts while also integrating recent infrastructure development and density-dependent growth patterns.
Hetrick, Scott; Roy Chowdhury, Rinku; Brondizio, Eduardo; and Moran, Emilio, "Spatiotemporal patterns and socioeconomic contexts of vegetative cover in Altamira City, Brazil" (2013). Geography. 603.
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