UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Exploring Relationships between Socioeconomic Background and Urban Greenery in Portland, OR Nesbitt, Lorien; Meitner, Michael J.


Do urban residents experience societal benefits derived from urban forests equitably? We conducted a broad-scale spatial analysis of the relationship between urban greenery and socioeconomic factors in the Portland metropolitan area. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index was derived from National Agriculture Imagery Program images to map urban vegetation cover, and Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Area data were used to identify green spaces. These measures of urban greenery were correlated with census data to identify socioeconomic factors associated with high levels of green inequity. Population density, house age, income, and race were strongly correlated with vegetation cover. However, the distribution of green spaces showed a much weaker relationship with socioeconomic factors. These results highlight the importance of different measures of access to urban greenery and suggest potential solutions to the problem of urban green inequity. Cities can use our methods to conduct targeted urban forest management to maximize urban forest benefits received by residents.

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