Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 391–409 | Cite as

The good, the bad, and the interested: how historical demographics explain present-day tree canopy, vacant lot and tree request spatial variability in New Haven, CT

  • Dexter H. LockeEmail author
  • Gillian Baine


Trees provide environmental benefits while vacant lots may pose environmental threats. Citizen requests for street trees may indicate positive attitudes toward improving local environmental quality. Each of these three indicators is evaluated to explore socio-spatial shifts and environmental variability using historic demographic data for New Haven, CT. Techniques include exploring bivariate correlations and performing ordinary least squares regressions with socio-economic data at the Census block group scale. Spatial lag and spatial error models are also estimated to control for and elucidate the spatial patterning. Because present day built and environmental conditions are the result of former actions, historic socio-economic data help enumerate temporal lags that create landscape legacies. This methods paper suggests a presence of distributional inequity, and reveals that different socio-economic variables have varied temporal lags.


Vacant lots Environmental stewardship URI Urban resources initiative New Haven 



This work was funded in part by the Carpenter-Sperry award at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The authors thank Amity Doolittle, Colleen Murphy-Dunning, Ainsley Lloyd, Anne Buckelew, and Christopher Boone for providing helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. The authors also thank the Urban Resources Initiative for compiling, and making available some of the input data. These analyses would be impossible without their efforts. Thanks to those who requested street trees, without them this study would not have been possible and New Haven would be less green.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of GeographyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Saint Ann’s SchoolBrooklynUSA

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