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The Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience (CURes), TreePeople, and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments partnered to conduct a tree canopy prioritization in the City of Lynwood. This process utilized high resolution, high accuracy tree canopy data as a foundation to engage the public in identifying their priorities for tree planting in the city.

Analysis of tree canopy data acquired through a previous project between CURes and TreePeople showed that the City of Lynwood has 16% existing tree canopy cover. The analyses also found that Lynwood has great opportunity to increase its tree canopy, with 41% of the land area of the city shown to be Possible Tree Canopy.

The project partners held a series of planning meetings with the City of Lynwood and conducted multiple forms of outreach to engage community participation in two virtual “tree summits,” which took place in December, 2020. Participants were introduced to the numerous ways that their city could benefit from increased tree canopy, engaged in a discussion and several interactive activities about their personal experiences and values around trees, and were invited to take a survey to choose their top ten priorities for tree planting.

Overall, 120 surveys were collected, with the large majority (86%) of respondents indicating that they were residents of Lynwood and a smaller number (24%) indicating that they worked in Lynwood. Respondents had the opportunity to vote to prioritize 22 specific tree benefits across eight categories. Participants identified “Improve Air Quality and Reduce Noise,” “Beautify Neighborhoods,” and “Increase Equity for Residents” as their top priority categories for tree planting. Among the specific benefits, the highest priorities were Air Quality, Replacement Trees, Reduce Heat, Low Tree Canopy, and Schools.

Each of the benefits voted on by participants was associated with a spatial variable (e.g. “Heat” was associated with high-resolution surface temperature data available through NASA). Using the results from the survey, priority weightings were calculated for each spatial variable, and these priorities were mapped using the Possible Tree Canopy data as a guide. Thus, the resulting maps showed the priority locations for tree planting in the City of Lynwood that were already identified by the tree canopy assessment as Possible Tree Canopy.

The results revealed that the highest tree planting priority areas for Lynwood are on the eastern and western edges of the city, corresponding with major transportation corridors. In addition to the maps, tables were produced to provide rankings for each individual parcel in the Possible Tree Canopy boundaries. These datasets include a comprehensive listing of nearly 10,000 Residential Parcels, over 6,000 Road Segments, and 12 Parks in the City of Lynwood.

Together, the products of this tree canopy prioritization project can guide the City of Lynwood in its urban forestry planning. In the near term, TreePeople will use these data to inform the planting of 1,000 trees. In the longer term, the City can use these data to guide future urban forestry strategies. The community-engaged prioritization process served to raise interest and enthusiasm around tree planting in Lynwood, as well as provide the opportunity for community members to provide meaningful input about urban forestry decision-making in their city.

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City of Lynwood Tree Canopy Prioritization