How Can You Measure Income Inequality? Count The Trees


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By Hattie Lee,

Turns out there’s a direct correlation between the number of trees a neighborhood has and its monetary wealth —

Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood
Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood – 2009 estimated median household income: $22,166

and we can see how this dynamic plays out from space. Environmental journalist Tim De Chant mapped it all out for us on his blog, Per Square Mile, where he worked up a small project called “Income Inequality, As Seen From Space.”

De Chant took satellite images from Google Earth that compared two neighborhoods from selected cities to show income disparities.

Hyde Park is home to the University of Chicago. It has the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per square kilometer of any neighborhood on earth.

Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood – 2009 estimated median household income: $48,568
Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood – 2009 estimated median household income: $48,568

In the 1950s it experienced “white flight” as a reaction to school desegregation. Today, largely as a result of the University of Chicago’s “urban renewal” (or “removal”) program, it is one of the most economically and social integrated neighborhoods in the US.

Woodlawn neighborhood, just to the south of Hyde Park, is known for its urban blight: high crime, vacant lots, and lack of businesses.

Read more here and here.

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