Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

First Advisor

Rachelle Gould

Second Advisor

Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne

Third Advisor

Cherie Morse


urban tree canopy, shade equity, Louisville, disparity, ecosystem services, green gentrification.


As cities builds climate resilience and foster equity, tree planting is a priority solution. Urban tree canopy (UTC) provides multiple crucial ecosystem services, like shade, and mitigates the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI). This research looks at Louisville, KY as a case study for tree canopy disparity, observing inequality in the relationship between tree canopy and demographics, as well as the unevenness in the canopy change over time. This study uses spatial analysis in ArcGIS Pro to investigate the unevenness in the tree canopy gains or losses from 2012-2019 and to compare tree canopy to seven different demographic groups that are historically marginalized or are vulnerable to extreme heat. A disparity index model was followed to produce values and maps indicative of tree canopy inequality for all 587 census block groups. For the analyses of change over time and disparity between demographics and tree canopy, there are many block groups that have disproportionately low tree cover, or are losing tree cover more than others, indicating both inequity and more vulnerability to extreme heat.