Where urban tree canopies and environmental justice meet

What would you do if you had more resources for your work?

When this question hits a researcher’s ears, it usually sparks more than a little interest. For John Wilson and Manuel Pastor, it led to a $2.9 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund.

The two USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences professors, invited by the Earth Fund to apply for the grant, will use the funds to counter some of climate change’s negative impacts and to narrow existing environmental equity gaps plaguing cities across the United States.

Over the next two years, Wilson, director of USC Dornsife’s Spatial Sciences Institute, and Pastor, director of USC Dornsife’s Equity Research Institute, will develop tools to promote and prioritize equity-driven urban greening.

In practical terms, this means finding the best places to add tree canopies, which have proven effective in lowering urban area land temperatures, where they are sorely needed in underserved communities.

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