- We explore the equity of tree distribution across Phoenix, AZ.
- LiDAR identified 2.7 million individual tree locations across the study area.
- Geographically Weighted Regression determined local variation in tree distribution.
- The results revealed significant inequity related to socio-economic variables.
Trees are critical assets in the urban environment. From reducing pollution and the effects of urban heat islands, decreasing energy consumption, and improving the overall quality of life for individuals and communities, trees are vital environmental amenities that promote and enhance public health, facilitating a more sustainable urban footprint. While many cities are making concerted efforts to plant more trees, empirical work suggests that the distribution of trees within these communities is unequal, fueled by a constellation of factors that include cost, maintenance, culture, and value systems. In order to identify and mitigate the inequities associated with the geographic distribution of trees within a community, it is important to deepen our understanding of the social, environmental, operational, and geographic nuances of tree distribution(s). In this study, we employ geocomputational and spatial statistical methods to analyze a database of 2.7 million trees in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area. The results of this analysis highlight local variations in the relationship between tree density and social and environmental correlates, and offer a more geographically nuanced snapshot of the tree distribution for one of the hottest U.S. cities.