Date of this Version

4-1-2015

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This study examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C. using high spatial resolution land cover data and census data. Data are analyzed at the Census Block Group levels using Spearman's correlation, ordinary least squares regression (OLS), and a spatial autoregressive model (SAR). Across all cities there is a strong positive correlation between UTC cover and median household income. Negative correlations between race and UTC cover exist in bivariate models for some cities, but they are generally not observed using multivariate regressions that include additional variables on income, education, and housing age. SAR models result in higher r-square values compared to the OLS models across all cities, suggesting that spatial autocorrelation is an important feature of our data. Similarities among cities can be found based on shared characteristics of climate, race/ethnicity, and size. Our findings suggest that a suite of variables, including income, contribute to the distribution of UTC cover. These findings can help target simultaneous strategies for UTC goals and environmental justice concerns.

Comments

Copyright: This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and maybe freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified ,built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Article DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0122051

Related data are publicly available through figshare:http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/ m9.figshare.1213775.

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