April 30, 2007

They’re Not Frills: Boston to Plant 100K+ New Trees

"Boston will plant 100,000 trees during the next 13 years, with the bulk of the plantings to take root in the city's least green neighborhoods," the Globe reported Saturday. "By expanding the urban forest by some 20 percent to cover more than one - third of the city, leaders hope to reap a range of benefits, including cooler temperatures in summer, absorption of carbon dioxide and storm water runoff, and increased psychological well-being among residents."

The plan also includes "a partnership with the USDA Forest Service to launch the nation's first Urban Research Forest," according to the Boston Parks Department.

Trees are good for the environment. And, when properly planned, planted and cared for, they're great for communities. Derrick Z. Jackson had a wonderful column on the importance of trees, which I wrote about last year. "A 1997 study by the University of Illinois showed that crime in a housing project was significantly less and community bonds were stronger on tree-lined parts of the project than on barren parts," Jackson said.

Check out Urban Advantage's images of a a neighborhood commercial center, and what widened sidewalks and the addition of trees does to the streetscape. This shows what streetscape improvements can do in a community. Head to http://www.urban-advantage.com/images.html and click on the "neighborhood commercial center" at the top left.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to know more about what species they are planting. At least in the Globe photo it was a white oak - good. I noticed that in the Globe's map of existing plantings, there are several introduced species, including Callery pear and Norway maple, both of which can spread into natural areas, particularly the maple. Also Callery pear is known for its propensity to break branches off at the will of the wind - not so good for a city. It is hard to find good city tree species and at the same time try to protect what little natural habitat remains in the urban environment.