Louisville’s tree canopy.
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Research shows that people living in neighborhoods with busy streets and high levels of roadway air pollution have a higher risk of heart disease than people living in neighborhoods with more green space. Louisville’s trees currently remove more than four million pounds of ground-level ozone and more than one million pounds of particulate matter annually from the air we breathe. The health value of removing that much air pollution is estimated at more than $10 million every year.
However, Louisville’s urban tree canopy is 37% – lower than the 44% recommended canopy for a healthy city. Each year Louisville loses an average of 54,000 trees, and Louisville has lost more than 6,500 acres of trees since 2004. If this trend continues, our tree canopy may decrease to 31% in the next ten years.
Through Green Heart Louisville, our researchers will assess the health and social benefits of increasing green space and tree canopy by:
- Discovering new relationships between nature and health
- Discovering new ways to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity without medications
- Developing of a scientifically validated blueprint for greening urban spaces to reduce air pollution that could be replicated in cities around the world
- Creating a new model for healthy urban development