A Closer Look at Street Trees and Wealth

Brian Engelmann, Urban Times, August 10, 2012

The numerous advantages of urban street trees are too often overlooked. Just as trees play an integral part in the natural ecosystem, they play critical roles in the urban ecosystem. The benefits of street trees are many-fold and include the improvement of traffic and pedestrian safety on roadways, increased economic activity, lower temperatures, crime reduction, higher land values, improved overall health, longer pavement life, and absorption of water runoff, carbons, and pollutants (Burden, 2006).

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Residents who lived on streets that are lined with healthy, mature trees have been reaping the benefits of their existence whether they realize it or not. {snip}

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It should come by no surprise, then, that studies have found positive associations between urban tree canopy coverage and wealth. Although much research still needs to be done before making sweeping generalizations, the available evidence suggests that greater tree canopy coverage in a neighborhood equates with higher income of its residents, and also perhaps decreased presence of minority populations. In a study by Zhu & Zhang (2008), titled “Demand for Urban Forests in United States Cities,” a clear relationship between forest cover and per capita income was illustrated by analyzing tree canopy coverage in satellite imagery in 210 U.S. cities.

When comparing the tree coverage to economic data, one of the authors’ main findings was that forest cover increased by 1.76 percent for every 1 percent rise in per capita income. According to the researchers, the most probable reason for this relationship is the greater ability of higher income communities to afford trees as well as the presence of larger property sizes to accommodate them. {snip}

In a study titled “Street Trees and Equity: Evaluating the Spatial Distribution of an Urban Amenity by Landry & Chakraborty (2009), the relationships between public right-of-way street trees and racial and economic variables were investigated in Tampa, Florida using remote sensing procedures to quantify tree coverage. The results of their analyses indicated that higher quantities of low-income residents, renters, and African-Americans tended to reside in neighborhoods with lower amounts of tree cover. Their techniques also accounted for the heterogeneity of land use in urban areas as well as spatial dependence in the data (Landry & Chakraborty, 2009). {snip}

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  • WOW!  Talk about confusing CORRELATION with CAUSATION!

    • Chimp Master Rules

      They’re not saying there is causation.  They’re calling it an association, i.e., a correlation:  “studies have found positive associations between urban tree canopy coverage and wealth.”

      But if they’re not willing to say it, I will:  Nice urban streets do CAUSE wealth.

      They cause it in the sense that the residents of those streets will engage in behaviors that further their wealth.  Same thing when you put on your Sunday-best:  You act and feel differently.  Same thing as whites raised under a white moral code:  it causes you to act and think white.

      This is a significant difference between the white man and non-whites.  We appreciate beauty and engage in behaviors designed to further it, care for it and multiply it.   It is eccentric to our sense of normal and we appreciate its eccentricity.  It motivates us to achieve bigger and greater things.

      The colored’s sense of beauty, on the other hand, appears to be totally ego-centric . . . plumage, if you will.  That’s why the negro adorns himself with gold teefes, spinning rims and $600 sneakers.  The Aztec/Mayan adorns himself with tats and gang symbology. 

      Coloreds not only see no beauty in trees . . . they see no value in beauty.  Therefore, other than self-aggrandizement, they have no reason to work hard or excel at anything.  

      Hence, they produce nothing of value.

      • “The colored’s sense of beauty, on the other hand, appears to be totally ego-centric . . . plumage, if you will.  That’s why the negro adorns himself with gold teefes, spinning rims and $600 sneakers.  The Aztec/Mayan adorns himself with tats and gang symbology. 
        “not only see no beauty in trees . . . they see no value in beauty.  Therefore, other than self-aggrandizement, they have no reason to work hard or excel at anything.  ”

        Good analysis.

        Further, I would note: Trees don’t involve sex in any way, plumage does.

  • Francis Galton

    *LMAO*…thank you, I needed a good laugh!

    This is exhibit A for why PhDs in “soft” fields have become a laughing stock.  Who knew you could say so much about nothing?

    For my PhD thesis, I propose a few more correlations and associations with great potential:

    1) Boarded-up homes per capita and high minority populations (HUD be rayciss!)
    2) Bars/taverns per capita and proximity to universities
    3) PhDs per capita and low minority populations
    4) Deluded Liberals per capita and low minority populations

    Need I go on?

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

       I have always thought that PhD stood for “Ph**kin Dipsh*t.

      • The__Bobster

        No, Piled Higher and Deeper.

  • “Although much research still needs to be done before making sweeping
    generalizations, the available evidence suggests that greater tree
    canopy coverage in a neighborhood equates with higher income of its
    residents, and also perhaps decreased presence of minority populations.”
    Come now, Brian Engelmann!  You say that like it’s a bad thing!

  • Biff_Maliboo

    Sounds like we need redistribution of  our arboreal wealth as well.

  • JackKrak

    Let’s cut the trees down and look for evidence of racism in the rings.

  • The__Bobster

    After the cane-cutters took control of my old NJ town, they cut down all the trees, making it an even more stark turd word concrete barrio.

  • To be fair, I’ve also noticed that poor whites care very little about trees.  I live in a Midwestern city where “hoosiers” from the country have been settling in urban and suburban areas where jobs are steadier, for decades.  The first thing the Hoosier will do when he buys a house is call a bunch of his buddies over, buy a suitcase of Busch beer, oil up the chainsaws, and pull down every tree on his lot, no matter whether it’s a “stink tree” or a 200-year-old oak.  Trees, you see, are “threats” because they fall on your house once every 75 years if you don’t maintain them.  And having just left “the sticks”, he doesn’t want to see another tree as long as he lives.  Nor bother raking leaves.

  • ncpride

    Gimme a break. I can name half a dozen housing developments where the homes cost any where from 500.000 to a million dollars, and there is not a tree in sight, even in their yards. Not only that, the houses are right on top of each other, so even if we could afford a million dollar home, no way would I buy one when all I have to do is turn my head to see in my neighbors window!

    • The__Bobster

      In my area, developers raze all the stately old trees to make their grading easier. Then they sell you a $500,000 McMansion with no trees anywhere in sight. 

      But it’s all good. They include a tree allowance when you buy a house, so you can get a couple of tiny trees planted in front of your house, trees that will reach maturity when you’re ready to move….or die.

  • IKantunderstand

    To really understand this article: please just substitute “White People”  for “street trees”, ” urban tree canopy”, “healthy mature trees” , etc.

  • IanJMacDonald

    Trees are racist.

  • bubo

    Appalachia is covered in trees.  Appalachia is disproportionately poor.  Appalachia is much less violent than urban areas.  

    If only someone could connect the dots.  

  • Shawn_thefemale

    Jiminy Cricket!!! Evil Kneivel can’t make that leap.

  • Cart before the horse people.  Cart before the horse.

    You can find a million positive correlations none of which prove anything.

    Don’t get upset.

    Just laugh and belittle these people for the simple-mindedness and contemptible motivations that make them look past common sense.

     

  • APaige

    The Trees
    “There is unrest in the Forest, there is trouble with the trees
    For the Maples want more sunlight and the Oaks ignore their pleas
    The trouble with the Maples (and they are quite convinced they’re right)is the Oaks are
    just too lofty and they grab up all the light,
    The Oaks can’t help their feeling if they like the way they’re made, and
    wonder why the Maples can’t be happy in their shade.

    There is trouble in the forest all the creatures have fled as the
    Maples scream ‘oppression’ and the Oaks just shake their heads.

    So the Maples formed a Union and demanded equal rights, the
    Oaks are just too greedy we will make them give us light.
    Now there is no more Oak oppression, for they passed a ‘noble’ law,
    and the trees are all kept equal
    by…
    hachet
    axe and
    saw.”- Neil Peart (Rush)
    Sorry, but I have waited a lifetime to throw out the lyrics to “the Trees” in discussing racial issues and felt this would be the only time when it somewhat fit the subject.
    (P.S The lyrics are from memory-so they could be a little off)

  • One of the major news outlets did a report on black neighborhoods getting trees. It was tauted as yet another uber plan that would solve every urban ill.
     
    I, for one, don’t like streets without trees. They look like sterile deserts. Large urban shopping corridors are a prime example though I do see the problem of  deciduous  tress and leaf removal issues and costs.

    Residents who lived on streets that are lined with healthy, mature trees have been reaping the benefits of their existence whether they realize it or not.

    What came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Do people who value tree lined streets cultivate such environments or do the trees make the people who live there?

    Plant all the trees you want in urban communities. They will make little to no difference.

  • What’s the correlation between mexicans loitering in front of Home Depot and illegal immigration? Where’s that “study?” Better yet, just deport them.

  • The point is to say something bad about upper middle class whites, and talk about all the inequality between the races, and earn a paycheck. Hope they don’t start associating high crime with the darker neighborhoods, then we will all be in trouble. Or maybe they could figure out that the ‘darker’ your neighborhood becomes, the higher the crime rate. But that would be surpressed, wouldn’t it?

  • Ha haha, the  Hispanics moved in, and cut down all the trees. Thats funny. Dem trees be racist, muchacho, go prove yo a man and cut eet down.

  • The POINT, sir, is that your ignorance of this profoundly importance research only confirms that you are a racist. 

  • You want trees? I’ll give you trees:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcV4LVhSRLg

    • Sloppo

      When I read the article, I was wondering about how the author thought trees might be able to “reduce crime”.  On the other hand, I can see how crime might be able to reduce trees.

      • The__Bobster

        I used to pass through an “urban” area. The city fathers had a great idea: to make the downtown area more aesthetically pleasing, they’d put huge planters on the sidewalk and plant dozens of small trees in them. Within a week, all the trees were vandalized or chopped down.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Yes, true.  My grandparents were from California’s Central Valley, one of THE hottest places in California if not the U.S.  Their street was lined with beautiful old sycamores, two per median plus at least one in every front yard; almond trees were planted around the park.  These trees provided shade for homes, kids and cars from the brutal summer heat and added beauty and elegance to the small bungalow-type homes.

    When the neighborhood changed to one of ‘ immigrants bringing vibrancy’ i.e.,Mexicans, every tree, bar none, was chopped down.  The neighborhood is now bare — and I mean dirt lawns, torn up sidewalks, ripped up streets; the streets and yards lined with tree stumps.

    The government report, I’m sure, notes that the trees committed suicide, there can be NO other possible explanation allowed for favored non-White races.

    Bon

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    It will be used as yet one more reason to move Section 8 blacks and mexicans and refugees from the most depraved parts of Africa into beautiful, tree-lined neighborhoods in the name of equality and social justice.

    We Whites are hogging all the trees, preventing blacks and mexicans from “their fair share” of the tree wealth.

    The underlying agenda, as always, first and foremost, is the destruction of White neighborhoods and communities.  Hope and Change = spreading poverty and violence as far and wide as possible in order to make government crack-downs and control possible after the inevitable back-lash and day of reckoning that is coming when Whites have no where left to flee.

    There is a reason, a good one, why gun stores are being cleaned out.

    Bon

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    There are a lot of places in the US that has many trees, but the people are still poor.

    Maybe rich people (cities) can pay for the water that the trees need to survive.

    Or maybe trees don’t like black people either.

     

    • Up to my neck in CA

      Trees be rayciss’!

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

     The point is that Duhversity is about to jump the shark, and this is all they have left.

  • fuzzypook

    Chinese consider trees in the yard “bad luck.” They move into nice tree lined neighborhoods and much to the dismay of the neighbors, immediately begin cutting down thier trees.

  • SLCain

    And yet, large portions of Detroit are being reclaimed by the primeval boreal forest, and still the city remains poor.  Whyever could this be?  It’s all so puzzling…………………….