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Exploring Relationships between Socioeconomic Background and Urban Greenery in Portland, OR

Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Francisco Escobedo, Stephen John Livesley and Justin Morgenroth
Forests 2016, 7(8), 162;
Received: 1 May 2016 / Revised: 12 July 2016 / Accepted: 13 July 2016 / Published: 29 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
PDF [2210 KB, uploaded 3 August 2016]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; equity; Portland; socioeconomics; urban forests; well-being climate change; equity; Portland; socioeconomics; urban forests; well-being

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Nesbitt, L.; Meitner, M.J. Exploring Relationships between Socioeconomic Background and Urban Greenery in Portland, OR. Forests 2016, 7, 162.

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