“Trees in an urban environment can be nice to look at, provide (at times) much needed shade and can break up the monotony of a built environment. But trees provide much greater benefit to the community.”
“Trees, we know implicitly, are good for us, our environment and our cities. But there is also an economic good to trees.This recent article in The Guardian introduces a new way for some to consider the importance of trees – Treeconomics. While it sounds crude to the ordinary person, to consider trees as an economic good can actually help landowners, policymakers and even big business to pay more attention to trees.”
The climate benefits of trees
- Trees clean the air – they absorb odours, pollutants and filter particulates from the air
- Trees cool our cities – they shade homes and streets, break up urban “heat islands” and release water vapour into the air through their leaves.
- Trees conserve energy – strategically placed trees around buildings can reduce summer air-conditioning needs (for example).
As we consider, as a planet, how we can reduce our environmental impacts and mitigate any future rises in global temperatures, a ‘greening of our cities’ is certainly part of the answer. See how Melbourne City Council is looking at these issues or what was the outcome of recent joint research by the City of Sydney / UTS.
The social benefits of trees
There are numerous social benefits coming from trees in an urban setting, including:
- Trees increase quality of life in our cities
- Trees create a personal connection to the natural world
- Trees can create social cohesion around a sense of community identity and pride
And some research even finds that the presence of trees in urban settings reduces violence and reduces levels of fear and tension for residents.