Mireille Vargas; Dr. Chris Fields; Dr. Christa Anderson
The investigation of the distribution of urban tree canopy and its correlations with socioeconomic factors have become an important topic in environmental justice. Likewise, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) created a screening tool that visualizes the distributional equity of pollution burden by census tract in the state of California. This study continues this discussion by examining the distributional equity of urban tree cover (UTC) in cities in the Bay Area using high spatial land cover data and comparing it with CalEnviroScreen 3.0 Disadvantage Community Index along with certain individual indicators that make up the calculated index. Data was analyzed using ordinary least squares regression (OLS) and spatial autoregressive models (SAR). Bivariate regression showed a negative relationship between the disadvantage community index score and UTC in some cities and multivariable regressions of individual indicators showed strong negative relationships of certain indicators and UTC. Residuals of the OLS and SAR models showed that most cities had residuals clustered at zero for the SAR models than the OLS model suggesting that spatial autocorrelation is an important feature in the data. These findings suggest the importance of taking UTC into consideration for pinpointing disadvantaged communities due to the strong relationships among UTC and disadvantage communities’ indicators.