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Old 07-06-2012, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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Spinning off from (Poverty From Space) It's interesting to note you can easily tell wealthier urban neighborhoods from poorer digs by looking at the density of trees.

I KNOW it's true here in Salt Lake; if you look at an aerial image of the Wasatch Front, you can clearly see most of the trees are found on the East Bench, which is also where most of the money is. The wealthiest neighborhoods such as Holladay or Federal Heights almost look like forests from the air! (Remember this it UT too... the 2nd driest state in the country... mature deciduous tree canopies don't just grow on their own down in the valleys.)

Is it true in your neck of the woods? Do mature trees make an area more likely to become "ritzy" or do "ritzy" areas just happen to plant more of 'em?
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Oftentimes it's true, but sometimes it's not so easy, especially when areas are built in different eras, for different groups of people, and the number of times those groups have succeeded one another.

waverly baltimore - Google Maps

The area on the right is quite a bit more wooded than the area on the left. The area on the right was a village approximately 60 years before the city expanded north and the area on the left was built (the area on the right was also filled in). The area on the right had summer cottages for Baltimore's wealthy; its trees and higher elevation were a respite from the heat and stench closer to the water.

Nowadays, the area on the left is far wealthier than the area on the right, and far more desireable, at least when looking at home values.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Boston
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Mature trees usually mean two things:
  • The neighborhood is long established
  • Money and effort have gone in to keeping the trees healthy
Both elements usually appeal to higher income households. However, I don't think the model works everywhere. Some cities are in naturally woodsy areas, and the amount of tree cover is mostly an indication of how much land is developed. In Boston, some of the wealthiest neighborhoods (eg Beacon Hill, Back Bay) do not have many trees because the land is entirely taken by physical structures. But a poor neighborhood like Mattapan will have lots of tree growth because it happens to be built at a much lower structural density. Then again, still in Boston, a neighborhood like West Roxbury is wealthy and tree filled, but a neighborhood like East Boston is neither. And again in this instance, it has to do with structural density more than the incomes of the inhabitants.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
Mature trees usually mean two things:
  • The neighborhood is long established
  • Money and effort have gone in to keeping the trees healthy
Both elements usually appeal to higher income households. However, I don't think the model works everywhere. Some cities are in naturally woodsy areas, and the amount of tree cover is mostly an indication of how much land is developed. In Boston, some of the wealthiest neighborhoods (eg Beacon Hill, Back Bay) do not have many trees because the land is entirely taken by physical structures. But a poor neighborhood like Mattapan will have lots of tree growth because it happens to be built at a much lower structural density. Then again, still in Boston, a neighborhood like West Roxbury is wealthy and tree filled, but a neighborhood like East Boston is neither. And again in this instance, it has to do with structural density more than the incomes of the inhabitants.
I think no model is going to work everywhere. In the SF BA, lower pop. density of a neighborhood in relation to surrounding areas tends to be a good predictor of relative wealth; in the east side of San Jose, population density is relatively high (lots of individuals per HH) while per capita wealth is lower, which contrasts sharply with Monte Sereno's relatively very low population density and high per capita wealth.

Overall, with the right data on HH income and tree counts, one could perform a regression to see if there is a correlation. This actually seems like a subject we could answer definitively.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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I think this is an artifact of the collapse of cities in the second half of the 20th century; it no longer holds in areas where the well-to-do are moving back to central parts of cities.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
I think this is an artifact of the collapse of cities in the second half of the 20th century; it no longer holds in areas where the well-to-do are moving back to central parts of cities.
I don't know whether I'd call most gentrifiers "well-to-do." While they are usually well-educated and often have relatively high incomes, they're still technically "new money," and in all likelihood could not afford to live in the more posh, well-established neighborhoods.
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Henry is right that mature trees = long established neighborhoods in most cities. I'm not sure the trees say anything about wealth, per se. In Pittsburgh, it's easy to grow trees. Here in metro Denver, not so much.
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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Yes, wooded lots command more. Many new developments are built on old farmland which, of course, has no trees. Some of the smaller, more exclusive ones try to preserve trees.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I don't know whether I'd call most gentrifiers "well-to-do." While they are usually well-educated and often have relatively high incomes, they're still technically "new money," and in all likelihood could not afford to live in the more posh, well-established neighborhoods.
The new money can afford (for some definition of "afford") to live just about anywhere in Manhattan; I'm not sure where they couldn't afford to live. The first couple of waves of gentrifiers (e.g. artists in Northern Liberties (Philadelphia) or gays in Chelsea (NYC)) are a different story, but many areas are past that by now.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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It doesn't hold true in downtown Toronto, the poorer neighbourhoods are more "in the park" style, like Alexandra Park, Moss Park, Regent Park, St James Town, while there are neighbourhoods like Yorkville or the Entertainment (warehouse) district which have very few trees and are much wealthier. Outside downtown, there is a slight correlation, but it's far from perfect.
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