Predicting Opportunities for Greening and Patterns of Vegetation on Private Urban Lands

By Austin R. Troy, J. Morgan Grove, Jarlath P.M. O’Neil-Dunne, Steward T.A. Pickett, and Mary L. Cadenasso

(March 21, 2007) – This paper examines predictors of vegetative cover on private lands in Baltimore, Maryland. Using high-resolution spatial data, we generated two measures: “possible stewardship,” which is the proportion of private land that does not have built structures on it and hence has the possibility of supporting vegetation, and “realized stewardship,” which is the proportion of possible stewardship land upon which vegetation is growing. These measures were calculated at the parcel level and averaged by US Census block group.

Realized stewardship was further defined by proportion of tree canopy and grass. Expenditures on yard supplies and services, available by block group, were used to help understand where vegetation condition appears to be the result of current activity, past legacies, or abandonment.

PRIZM™ market segmentation data were tested as categorical predictors of possible and realized stewardship and yard expenditures. PRIZM™ segmentations are hierarchically clustered into 5, 15, and 62 categories, which correspond to population density, social stratification (income and education), and lifestyle clusters, respectively.

We found that PRIZM 15 best predicted variation in possible stewardship and PRIZM 62 best predicted variation in realized stewardship. These results were further analyzed by regressing each dependent variable against a set of continuous variables reflective of each of the three PRIZM groupings.

Housing age, vacancy, and population density were found to be critical determinants of both stewardship metrics. A number of lifestyle factors, such as average family size, marriage rates, and percentage of single-family detached homes, were strongly related to realized stewardship. The percentage of African Americans by block group was positively related to realized stewardship but negatively related to yard expenditures.

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Predicting Opportunities for Greening and Patterns of Vegetation on Private Urban Lands