by AR Troy, JM Grove, JPM O’Neil-Dunne, STA Pickett, ML Cadenasso
Environmental Management 40 ,394-4122007
The benefits of urban green space have been well documented, from aesthetic amenities, reducing energy use for cooling, carbon sequestration, and attenuating stormwater runoff to promoting neighborhood social capital. Although significant variation exists in the average amount of canopy cover of American cities, the heterogeneity in vegetation cover within cities is less understood. This paper presents two indicators for measuring and predicting intra-urban vegetation patterns using high-resolution spatial data. The first is the “possible stewardship” or plantable area, represented by the proportion of privately owned properties not occupied by buildings. The second is the “realized stewardship,” or the ratio of a parcel on which vegetation is growing to the plantable area. These measures were calculated at the parcel level and averaged by US Census block group. Additionally, the block groups’ expenditures on yard supplies and services were used to qualify the vegetation condition as a result of current activity, past legacies, or abandonment. The PRIZMTM Market Segmentation data indicators are grouped into three categories: population density (5), social stratification for income and education (15), and lifestyles (62). The authors found that the level of income and education (PRIZM15) best predicted the variation in possible stewardship while the lifestyles (PRIZM 62) best explained the realized stewardship. Additionally, housing age, vacancy, and population density were critical determinants for both stewardship metrics. The authors conclude that there is not a constant correlation between realized and possible stewardship, and that sociodemographic factors must be included.