Urban forests and equitability in Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana: An explicitly socio-ecological and resilience trait-based approach improves spatial analysis for climate change resilience

Authors: Sarah Mincey*, IPE & IURTP, Samantha Hamlin, Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University - Bloomington, Samantha Hamlin*, Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University - Bloomington, Rob Montoya, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University - Bloomington, Jeff Wilson, Department of Geography, Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis, Heather Reynolds, Department of Biology, Indiana University - Bloomington
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Urban green infrastructure, street trees, urban forests, socio-ecological systems, resilience
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban forests are widely recognized as a cornerstone of urban green infrastructure, and are increasingly relied on for numerous benefits, including climate regulation, air and water quality improvement, and aesthetic values. Urban forests also promote resilience to shocks and disturbances resulting from climate variability, such as heat waves and floods. Benefits of urban forests accrue at multiple scales, from the point scale of individual trees to the neighborhood and citywide scales of stand-level canopies. However, urban forests and their associated benefits may not be equally distributed across the urban landscape. Such distributional imbalances raise issues of equitability and accessibility that are receiving increasing attention; our research contributes to this emerging area in three ways. First, we situate equitability and accessibility as important traits of community resilience within a larger set of system resilience traits, and show how these traits have important biophysical and socioeconomic dimensions. Second, we develop a spatial platform enabling resilience trait-based inventory and analysis of biophysical and socioeconomic data. Third, we use the case of urban forest equitability and accessibility in two Indiana cities to demonstrate our explicitly social-ecological and resilience trait-based approach. We use several scales of socio-ecological data, and based on previous research, we expect to see a deficit of trees in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods, and demonstrate how our explicitly social-ecological and resilience trait-based platform enables more strategic, effective planning for community resilience to climate change.

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