Oct 11, 2021

Erica Spotswood and a team of scientists published pioneering research in Nature Sustainability, finding that COVID-19 tracks neighborhood greenness in the US, exacerbating existing inequity. The study, titled “Nature inequity and higher COVID-19 case rates in less green neighbourhoods in the United States,” demonstrates a fundamental pattern that low-income and majority-minority communities systematically have less access to nature in urban areas across the U.S. What’s more, these communities experiencing nature inequity are the same communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The analysis digs deeper into the independent relationship between COVID-19 rates and nature, even after controlling for race, income, and a host of other factors, and finds that there is a clear link: communities most impacted by COVID-19 also have the least nature nearby. These results make a clear case for prioritizing urban greening as a necessary component to cities’ strategies for supporting human health, promoting environmental justice, and building community resilience to future health crises.

For more information contact Erica Spotswood, [email protected]

Follow this link to download the article.

Also note the story on local news covering the release of this important article.

Associated Staff: 
Other Contributors: 
Robert McDonald, The Nature Conservancy
Erin Beller, Google
Deborah Balk, CUNY Institute of Demographic Research
Timon McPhearson, The New School
Ming Kuo, University of Illinois
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Urban Nature Lab