Not by trees alone: Centering community in urban forestry
This paper provides a review review of literature that seeks to address dimensions of equity in urban greening. It then offers three themes and related guiding questions that can help advance that work:
1. Supporting human capacity and care (investments in people and organizations)
2. Community organizing beyond the green silo (intersectional and cross-sectoral approaches)
3. Re-envisioning the functions of the urban forest (productive systems and biocultural approaches)
Finally this paper makes pointed suggestions that the field of urban forestry draw upon a community forestry ethos as we center the needs, capacities, and priorities of historically marginalized communities at the heart of the work of creating more just, sustainable cities.
In a nutshell, this resource highlights that:
• Urban forestry can both improve communities or exacerbate existing inequities.
• Environmental justice and anti-subordination greening concepts can inform our work.
• We can center marginalized communities’ priorities via a community forestry approach.
• The field can support capacity, organize with community, and re-envision the forest.
• We point to innovations from the field and offer questions for greening practitioners
How to use this resource:
- urban forestry practitioners who are seeking to deepen their work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice will find:
- A literature review on DEIJ approaches in the field of urban forestry and urban greening
- A theoretical framework for engaging with equity and justice in urban forestry work
- Cases of community-centered urban forestry work from across the US
- Inspiration and recommendations for how to center community in urban forestry.
Lindsay K. Campbell, Erika S. Svendsen, Michelle L. Johnson, and Sophie Plitt
Date published: 2022
Point of contact: Sophie.Plitt@naturalareasnyc.org
Citation: Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Plitt, Sophie. 2022. Not by trees alone: Centering community in urban forestry. Landscape and Urban Planning. 224(6): 104445. 8 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2022.104445.