Environmental Management

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 394–412 | Cite as

Predicting Opportunities for Greening and Patterns of Vegetation on Private Urban Lands

  • Austin R. TroyEmail author
  • J. Morgan Grove
  • Jarlath P. M. O’Neil-Dunne
  • Steward T. A. Pickett
  • Mary L. Cadenasso


This paper examines predictors of vegetative cover on private lands in Baltimore, Maryland. Using high-resolution spatial data, we generated two measures: “possible stewardship,” which is the proportion of private land that does not have built structures on it and hence has the possibility of supporting vegetation, and “realized stewardship,” which is the proportion of possible stewardship land upon which vegetation is growing. These measures were calculated at the parcel level and averaged by US Census block group. Realized stewardship was further defined by proportion of tree canopy and grass. Expenditures on yard supplies and services, available by block group, were used to help understand where vegetation condition appears to be the result of current activity, past legacies, or abandonment. PRIZM™ market segmentation data were tested as categorical predictors of possible and realized stewardship and yard expenditures. PRIZM™ segmentations are hierarchically clustered into 5, 15, and 62 categories, which correspond to population density, social stratification (income and education), and lifestyle clusters, respectively. We found that PRIZM 15 best predicted variation in possible stewardship and PRIZM 62 best predicted variation in realized stewardship. These results were further analyzed by regressing each dependent variable against a set of continuous variables reflective of each of the three PRIZM groupings. Housing age, vacancy, and population density were found to be critical determinants of both stewardship metrics. A number of lifestyle factors, such as average family size, marriage rates, and percentage of single-family detached homes, were strongly related to realized stewardship. The percentage of African Americans by block group was positively related to realized stewardship but negatively related to yard expenditures.


Urban ecology Private land Neighborhood segmentation Urban forestry Baltimore LTER Urban greening 



We thank the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry Program (USDA 03-CA-11244225-531), and the National Science Foundation for their support of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, Long-Term Ecological Research project (NSF DEB-0423476), which this research was a part of. We also thank the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Service, The City of Baltimore, Space Imaging, LLC. The Parks & People Foundation for their generous contribution of data and expertise to this project, and Dr. Jennifer Jenkins. We also thank the anonymous reviewers of this manuscript for their helpful comments. This paper has benefited from insights gained through interactions with generous collaborators, students, and community partners from Baltimore since 1989. Finally, Dr. William Burch has been an enduring visionary and motivator for this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Austin R. Troy
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Morgan Grove
    • 2
  • Jarlath P. M. O’Neil-Dunne
    • 3
  • Steward T. A. Pickett
    • 4
  • Mary L. Cadenasso
    • 5
  1. 1.Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural ResourcesAiken Center, University of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Northern Research Station, USDA Forest ServiceSouth BurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural ResourcesAiken Center, University of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA
  5. 5.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaUSA

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