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Urban Forestry & Urban Greening

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Tree Canopy -- Urban Forestry


In this study, we examine community lived experiences, preferences, and narratives about tree equity in Portland, Oregon. Using an environmental justice framework combined with participatory mapping, focus group discussions, and semi-structured interviews, we examine values, perceptions of canopy cover, and everyday relationships with trees across different racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Results show that participants from neighborhoods with histories of investment and privilege had different lived experiences compared to those with histories of disinvestment and marginalization. While participants overall valued trees, concerns about tree-related risk and safety varied in ways that reflected racial and class identities. Furthermore, memories and historic knowledge shaped perceived tree equity but contemporary problems such as tree removal, maintenance policies, and gentrification were viewed as barriers to achieving more equitable outcomes. Our study underscores the importance of centering community experiences, values, and needs along with tree programs that can alleviate barriers to tree care and maintenance.


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