Date of Completion

12-13-2016

Embargo Period

12-12-2017

Keywords

Urban greenery, Google Street View, Environmental inequity, Street greenery.

Major Advisor

Chuanrong Zhang

Associate Advisor

Daniel Weiner

Associate Advisor

Robert Cromley

Associate Advisor

Daniel Civco

Associate Advisor

Debarchana Ghosh

Field of Study

Geography

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

As an important component of the urban ecosystem, the urban greenery provides a series of benefits to urban residents and plays an important role in maintaining the urban sustainability. Unequal access to urban greenery represents environmental disparities when some urban residents are deprived of the benefits provided by urban greenery. As an important component of the urban greenery, the street greenery provides a series of benefits to urban residents, such as energy saving, provision of shade and aesthetic values. In addition, the street greenery is a kind of publicly financed amenity and the spatial distribution of the street greenery is influenced heavily by different policies. In this study, I studied the distribution of street greenery in dozens of major American cities and investigated whether racial/ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged groups are living in neighborhoods with less street greenery. The modified green view index (MGVI), which literally represents the visibility of street greenery or how much street greenery people can see and feel on the ground, was used to represent the distribution of street greenery. The MGVI was calculated based on the publicly accessible Google Street View (GSV) images captured at different horizontal and vertical view angles. Tens of millions GSV images were downloaded for all the selected cities based on the static Google Street View images API to calculate MGVI in the study areas. The environmental inequity in terms of street greenery was further investigated by examining the relationships between the spatial distributions of residential street greenery and socioeconomic variables in different cities at census tract level. Results showed that people with various social conditions have different amounts of street greenery in their living environments in different cities. Generally, people with higher incomes tend to live in places with more street greenery. The percentage of home ownership also plays a positive role in the spatial distribution of street greenery. In summary, this study contributes to literature by providing insights into the living environments of urban residents in terms of street greenery, and it generates a valuable reference data for future urban greening programs.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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