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Throwing Shade: Environmental Injustice and the Urban Tree Canopy

June 30, 2021

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The cool shade of a tree is a welcome relief on a hot day. But in cities across the United States, tree cover is not equally distributed between neighborhoods. All cities experience the urban heat island effect, where cities are warmer than the surrounding rural areas due to the way urban surfaces, like parking lots and buildings, absorb heat. However, within cities themselves, some neighborhoods are hotter, and this discrepancy is often directly linked to urban tree cover. A recent study further linked today’s hottest neighborhoods to the historic and inequitable practice of redlining. 
In this River Talk, the Cumberland River Compact’s Root Nashville Campaign Manager Meg Morgan joins Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, Chief Scientist with the Science Museum of Virginia, to learn about his groundbreaking work on the connections between historic redlining, urban heat, and urban trees, and the implications for how we make equitable, inclusive, and just decisions for our community moving forward.

About Dr. Jeremy Hoffman

Dr. Jeremy Hoffman is the Chief Scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia and an Affiliate Faculty in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Jeremy specializes in Earth science communication, data-driven and community-based participatory science, and science center exhibit content development. His work has been written about in the New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Richmond Magazine, the Richmond Times Dispatch, UPWORTHY, and many others.

In this podcast:

  • What are the connections between trees, urban tree cover, and urban heat?
  • What is redlining?
  • What are the connections between redlining, urban heat, and trees?
  • What are historically redlined communities in Nashville?
  • What are solutions to equitably address these issues in cities and neighborhoods?
Learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode: