by TM Conway, T Shakeel, J Atallah

Landscape and Urban Planning 101:321-329


It is generally the case that poorer neighborhoods, those with higher percentages of minorities, and those with more renters have less tree canopy cover, and there are a multitude of drivers leading to this condition. This study sought to better understand the role of local actors, in particular business improvement areas (BIAs) and residential associations (RAs), in creating these inequalities. Representatives of BIAs and RAs were interviewed about the activities they spend the most time on, any urban forestry-related work, and about tree-oriented interactions with local residents, the city, and other groups. The BIAs were relatively more involved in urban forestry activities, and at the same time, there was little correlation between BIAs and socioeconomic characteristics, indicating that these groups were not a significant contributor to inequality in tree cover. RAs, in contrast, were less likely to be involved in tree-related activities; in some cases this was because activities were centered around the original motivation for creating the group or were heavily influenced by the interests of one or two key people. In addition, RAs showed a significant correlation between a number of socioeconomic indicators of wealth and level of involvement in urban forestry, suggesting a possible driver of inequality in tree cover.

Region: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: community participation, environmental justice, non-profits, surveys and interviews, tree canopy cover, and urban forestry