Tree Equity Score is a free, human-centered, decision-making tool for urban tree plantings used by urban foresters, land-use planners, government officials, neighborhood organizations and many others.
Help make the case for investment in neighborhoods with the greatest need across America using a single, nationwide, neighborhood-level score. Learn more at TreeEquityScore.org
American Forests' Tree Equity Score is an analysis of urban neighborhoods, where neighborhoods are defined as Census Block Groups, and urbanized areas
are defined by the Census Bureau as “densely developed territory… encompass[ing] residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses.”
Surface temperature data were derived from USGS Earth Explorer
Landsat 8 imagery thermal bands. City1
averages were calculated as the area-weighted mean of all block group mean summer high surface temperatures. Block groups were flagged as a heat anomaly if the mean summer high surface temperature was 1.25 degrees greater than the area-weighted mean for the city.
For each city, the people of color population and poverty rates were calculated city-wide (all block groups) and for just the block groups flagged as a heat anomaly. People in poverty is a Census measure defined as the percentage of the population with an income less than 200% of federal poverty level. People of color is defined as all people who identify as not white and non-Hispanic or Latinx. The difference between the citywide and heat anomaly values were labeled as "∆ in people of color" and "∆ in poverty rate."
Cities were defined as Census Urbanized Area (UA)
units. The Census defines an UA as a continuously built-up area with a population of 50,000 or more, comprising one or more places—central place(s)—and the adjacent densely settled surrounding area—urban fringe—consisting of other places and nonplace territory. The Census Bureau generally merges contiguous urbanized areas when major portions of the urbanized area territories are located in the same metropolitan area (defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a core area containing a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities that have a high degree of economic and social integration with that core area).
Tree Equity Score, 2022.
Article and visuals by Julia Twichell
This American Forests data short was made possible by funding from
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