Hottest neighborhood in Chicago is 6.4 degrees warmer than city average, but more trees could help

A new study shows that if Chicago planted a lot more trees, residents would be more comfortable in hot weather, healthier, and live longer.

American Forests, the nation's oldest national conservation group, released a study on Tuesday of what they called "Tree Equity Scores." The score evaluates the distribution of tree cover in the United States and identifies places that could gain the most by planting more trees.

The group said that Chicago needs 2.2 million more trees to reach "Tree Equity."


One of the most dramatic changes achieved by planting more trees would be temperature drops. Currently, the hottest neighborhood in Chicago is 6.4 degrees warmer than the citywide average.

People who live in hotter neighborhoods are more likely to suffer heat illness or death and respiratory issues. They also end up paying more for electricity to run air conditioners.

Planting more trees would also reduce 35,794 tons of carbon in Chicago's air, and help the city avoid 3 million cubic meters of storm runoff.