Balancing development with the need for green spaces: spatial planning in San Antonio and Istanbul
In an urban environment, dense development is highly rated for its environmental sustainability, economic benefits, neighborhood walkability, access to basic services, reduced infrastructure, and positive social exchange. Thus, older and transitioning communities experience pressure for development. Unfortunately, the drive to fill in our urban environment with structures may be to the detriment of urban green spaces, ecological health, and quality of life. San Antonio, Texas, and Istanbul, Turkey, are used here as case studies of how green spaces are distributed in urban areas. Sample districts in each city are mapped to illustrate existing publicly-accessible green spaces, spaces occupied by the built environment, and areas where no publicly-accessible green spaces exist within walking distance of urbanites. In areas lacking publicly-accessible green space, approximate locations for future green spaces are proposed and sites that could be converted to publicly-accessible green space are identified. The conditions in these cities then imply a need for policy changes and better planning to accommodate urban green spaces. As Kevin Lynch asserted, the elements of a good city include accessibility for everyone to all urban components. 1 To ensure equitable access to the benefits of urban green spaces, this study proposes a new measure by which urban green spaces should be distributed and recommends the tools with which cities may undertake the process of establishing additional green spaces.