A critical co-benefit offered by urban forests is increased shade equity provided by the urban forests implemented. The concept of shade equity is based on the principle that shade is a civic resource and a requirement for public health which is unequally distributed, particularly in urban settings.

Tools such as Tree Equity Score have been developed to assess and publicize inequities in shade distribution in order to drive actions around urban tree and shade disparities.

For example, within Miami Dade County the city of Coral Gables has a tree equity score of 90 out of 100, while Medley, a far less wealthy municipality of the county, scores just 51 out of 100. In urban areas like Miami where heat levels are particularly high, promoting and implementing shade equity is critical to public health. Studies in cities such as Los Angeles and New York City have highlighted the impact of shade inequity and outlined effective measures for pursuing increased shade equity.