More than just aesthetically appealing, recent research points to numerous benefits associated with increased tree-canopy and city greenery. Urban trees have been linked to greater health and wealth of residents: people report feeling better and enjoy a higher salary than in treeless neighborhoods. Property values are increased, and homeowners on tree-lined streets are able to sell their homes more quickly.
The benefits of urban trees extend to cities as well. Increased property tax revenue associated with greater property values help line city coffers. Greater health and well being of residents decreases health care costs. And happier residents create an overall positive environment for city-dwellers.
In spite of this, city leaders have largely ignored urban forests. Too often, their maintenance is lumped in with agencies ill equipped to properly provide arboreal care. This gap between research and practice provides city leaders with the opportunity to beautify their city, while providing greater health, economic, and climate solutions. Cities across the globe are beginning to embrace urban forests, and city mayors are leading this charge. To get involved with climate solutions in your city, join with other leaders and get on the Path to Positive!
Rustlings Road is aptly named. The street in Sheffield is lined with mature lime trees. Their whispering leaves are brilliant green in spring, then cast cool, dappled shade in summer and turn bright yellow in the autumn. But Sheffield city council wants to prune the street, and a dispute about 11 lime trees has turned into a citywide campaign, with more than 10,000 people urging the council to halt its roadside felling. I has also sparked a broader debate about what 36,000 street trees bring to a place that claims to be the most wooded industrial city in western Europe.
This tussle shows how urban trees are both treasured and in jeopardy like never before – beset by disease and spurious insurance claims, and too readily felled by cash-strapped local authorities which only see their potential cost rather than their contribution to climate, public health and even the wealth of a city. Ever since Roger Ulrich discovered in 1984 that hospital patients appear to recover more quickly from surgery in rooms with green views, a growing body of scientific evidence has demonstrated the health – and wealth – benefits of trees in cities.