Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Ecological Modelling




110445 (1-14)


Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can result in illness and death. In urban areas of dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat, extreme heat conditions can arise regularly and create harmful environmental exposures for residents daily during certain parts of the year. Tree canopies provide shade and help to cool the environment, making mature trees with large canopies a simple and effective way to reduce urban heat. We develop a demographically representative 1 (agent): 1 (person) agent-based model to understand the extent to which different demographics of residents in Norfolk, VA are equitably shaded from extreme heat conditions during a walk on a clear summer day. We use the model to assess the extent to which the city's Tree Planting Plan will be effective in remediating any existing inequities. Our results show that inequitable conditions exist for residents (1) at different education levels, (2) at different income levels and, (3) living in different census tracts. Norfolk's Tree Planting Program effectively reduces the distance residents of all demographics walk in extreme heat. However, residents of the city at lower income levels still experience statistically significantly more extreme heat exposure due to a lack of tree canopies in summer months than those at higher income levels.

Data Availability

Article states: Our data is publicly accessible on the following Mendeley Data webpage:

Original Publication Citation

Zamponi, V., Obrien, K., Jensen, E., Feldhaus, B., Moore, R., Lynch, C. J., & Gore, R. (2023). Understanding and assessing demographic (in)equity resulting from extreme heat exposure due to lack of tree canopies in Norfolk, VA using agent-based modeling. Ecological Modelling, 483, Article 110445.


0000-0001-9079-0947 (Zamponi), 0000-0002-4830-7488 (Lynch), 0000-0003-4065-6146 (Gore)