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Research and Reports

Transforming America’s Low Income Districts

By Greg Kats and Keith Glassbrook

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the costs and benefits of applying a set of roofing and surfacing technologies at scale in ward-level low income areas in three cities: Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The low income areas studied are substantial, representing, on average, about one-tenth of the population of the cities. These low income areas are characterized by far higher poverty rates, lower income, and higher unemployment than the cities they are part of. On average, the low income areas studied have 53% higher percent of population below the poverty line and 64% higher unemployment rates than the cities they are part of. Not coincidently, these low income areas also have 43% lower tree coverage relative to the cities as a whole. Underinvestment in trees and green technologies generally in urban low income areas like these result in higher summer temperatures, worse air quality, more severe health problems, and higher energy bills per square foot than more affluent areas.

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