The story is the same in nearly every city across the United States. With few exceptions, trees are sparse in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods and more prominent in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods. Redlining policies, dating back to the 1930s, laid the groundwork for this inequity.
American Forests is laser-focused on addressing this inequity by greening all urban neighborhoods. There many life-saving and quality of life benefits, such as reduced heat-related illnesses and more jobs, that trees provide people. They want to create Tree Equity, which is about ensuring that all people experience the benefits of trees.
But how do we know if there are enough trees in a neighborhood so everyone can reap those benefits? Their Tree Equity Score (TES) tool answers this question. It calculates a score for all 150,000 neighborhoods and 486 municipalities in urban America — cities and nearby small towns that have at least 50,000 people. More than 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in these urban places.