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Optimal Spatial Arrangement of Juvenile Trees to Maximize Cooling in the Wilson Park Housing Authority Apartment Complex in Pittsfield, MA

Authors: Sadie Murray*, , Nicholas Geron, Clark University , Marc Healy, Clark University , Deborah Martin, Clark University, John Rogan, Clark University
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Human-Environment Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: microclimate modeling, spatial arrangement of trees, public housing, cooling benefits, ENVI-met, urban heat island effect,
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently implemented the Greening the Gateway Cities Program (GGCP), intended to reduce home heating and cooling costs through tree planting in environmental justice neighborhoods. Previous studies that have explored the impact of the GGCP, and similar projects, have focused on the benefits that can be provided to an entire city rather than the local microclimate around individual buildings. Focusing on the microclimate of single buildings provides the ability to determine how different trees species and their planting geography can optimize energy efficiency. Similarly, studies using ENVI-met microclimate modeling software rarely focus on public housing projects, which have the potential to benefit a larger number of lower income residents with a minimal number of trees. In this study ENVI-met is used to determine the impact of the spatial arrangement of GGCP trees on air temperatures at summer-monthly and daily time scales. A 50x50x40 m landscape with 1 m spatial resolution comprising the Wilson Park housing authority in Pittsfield serves as a test case. Five tree planting arrangement scenarios were tested and compared to a no-tree scenario. Analyzing and comparing these five scenarios will provide a greater understanding of the relationship between the spatial arrangement of newly planted trees and optimizing energy efficiency. This work would be especially significant in the context of housing authority apartments because the cooling benefits would extend to a greater number of people.

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