Urban Canopy Can Be a Matter of Life or Death

An article by USDA Forest Service research scientists Michelle Kondo and colleagues in the journal Lancet Planetary Health created a global buzz in reporting results of a new citywide health impact assessment of achieving a 30% canopy cover goal in the City of Philadelphia. If done at a neighborhood scale it would cut heat-related illness and reduce premature deaths by 403 residents, including 244 in areas of lower socioeconomic status (95% confidence).

The study conclusion is that urban greening programs can be a means to improve public health, decrease health inequalities, and promote environmental justice. To quickly see canopy cover rates and socio-economic status in your community, visit i-Tree Landscape and enter your zip code or community name, or better yet, complete your own Urban Tree Canopy Assessment.

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