Walking tour group at Bellevue Transit Center. Newly planted trees line the walkway.

Equity Tracker


The region cares for the environment by protecting and restoring natural systems, conserving habitat, improving water quality, and reducing air pollutants. The health of all residents and the economy is connected to the health of the environment.

The quality of the environment has a direct impact on residents and their quality of life. Access to desirable neighborhood features, such as tree canopy and parks, can improve mental and physical health for residents. Living in areas where the natural and built environment are well-designed and maintained have long-ranging benefits by strengthening community health, resiliency, and economic prosperity. In contrast, proximity to undesirable and harmful environmental features, such as exposure to toxic emissions and neighborhood neglect, have significant negative impacts on community well-being.

Understanding the distribution of beneficial and harmful environmental characteristics can highlight how communities may benefit from public investment or be disproportionately burdened by disinvestment. Identifying the intersection between environmental health and vulnerable populations can inform future policies to address and mitigate existing inequities.

Drivers of Inequity

Due to historic housing policies, inequitable transportation and land use planning, and development patterns in urban areas, tree canopy coverage and toxic release locations differs across communities in developed areas.

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