‘Tree Inequality’ is a Problem in Both Cities and Suburbs

Given the history of redlining and other widespread discriminatory practices, it should come as no surprise that people in low-income urban environments face “tree inequality,” that is, they are less protected by tree cover than their fellow citizens. A recent study demonstrated the extent of this discrimination.

“Tree inequality was ubiquitous. In 92% of US cities, low-income neighborhoods have less tree cover than high-income neighborhoods. The rich have, on average, about 15% more tree cover and live in neighborhoods that are around 1.5⁰C cooler than the poor. This trend extends to race as well: in 67% of US communities, people of color (POC) neighborhoods have less tree cover than white neighborhoods, even after accounting for trends in income.”

What may come as a surprise is that tree cover inequality is even worse in the suburbs.

“When you compare neighborhoods at the same population density, you find that there is still a clear effect of income and race. High-income and white neighborhoods have more tree cover than equivalently dense low-income and POC neighborhoods. Surprisingly (at least to us!), the inequality in tree cover is greater in low-density neighborhoods than in high-density neighborhoods. For instance,…”


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