CURes Researchers Assess Green Infrastructure of LA’s Coastal Zone

On November 6, the LMU Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) hosted an event titled “Green Priorities in Los Angeles: Data to Support Decision Making.” This marked the completion of the first phase of our research project aiming to assess green infrastructure in the Los Angeles region. This project is a collaboration with the Consulting Group at SavATree and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab—who have conducted tree canopy and land cover assessments in over 75 cities and regions—to look at the spatial distribution of green infrastructure in coastal areas around Los Angeles. Joining us for this meeting were representatives from organizations across the region, including The Bay Foundation, California State University-Northridge, City of Los Angeles, Council for Watershed Health, Heal the Bay, L.A. Natural History Museum, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, North East Trees, Tree People, The Trust for Public Land, and University of Southern California Sea Grant.

The event started with a presentation of the research findings. Mike Galvin from SavATree described why trees are important in urban areas, and how they can help increase long-term resilience to drought, despite requiring water themselves. Next, Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne and Dexter Locke from the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab and Clark University presented the data analysis, which used high-resolution remote sensing data (imagery and LiDAR) to create fine scale 7-class land cover. These data were then combined with demographic and temperature data to identify potential priority areas where enhanced greening could contribute to increased resilience to climate impacts and more equitable distribution of environmental amenities in the Los Angeles coastal region.

The presentations generated a lot of enthusiasm and questions, which filled over an hour of Q&A and discussion. Many attendees were interested in learning more about how to use the data, and various spin-off collaborative projects were discussed. Of most interest was obtaining this type of analysis for the entire Los Angeles County. LMU CURes plans to extend the project to the county in phase two of the project, to be launched once funding is in place.

The final “Tree Canopy Assessment: Los Angeles Coastal Zone” can be viewed here. For questions about the research, please contact LMU CURes Director of Research Dr. Michele Romolini at