Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Shane Jensen


This study evaluates the equity of the tree distribution of Philadelphia’s yard tree program run by TreePhilly. The assessment focuses on the program’s ability to counteract the urban heat island effect based on land surface temperatures calculated using Landsat 8 satellite imagery as well as zoning specifications from the City of Philadelphia’s land use data, and socioeconomic characteristics from the American Community Survey on the census block group level. Disparities were identified using mapping, regression analysis, and spatial econometric models to determine the relationships between tree distribution and important factors such as temperature, race, income, and property characteristics. Overall, the study found that residential tree distribution was not equitable with regards to combatting the urban heat island effect and that more trees per square feet were planted in census block groups with higher white populations and lower density zoning classifications. This assessment will inform the local government on the effectiveness of its program and facilitate TreePhilly in determining where to target its outreach.


Philadelphia, Urban heat islands, Greenspace, Spatial regression, Environmental justice, Tree distribution, Satellite imagery



Date Posted: 25 July 2022


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