I've always been a big fan of street trees--don't they make a street look beautiful? Don't they give us welcome shade in the summer? Don't they lessen the "heat island" effect in urban areas? Don't they soften the appearance of the "hardscape" of a city? That's the upside. The downside is they need to bought, planted, and maintained. Who's going to pay for that?
A new report argues that the urban canopy should be considered—and funded—as a part of a city’s public health infrastructure. In an article entitled How Should We Pay for Street Trees?, the author writes,
"Trees have proved to aid mental health, decrease obesity and other health risks, and just generally make people happier. But they are often thought of as a luxury rather than a vital component of healthcare or urban infrastructure. In a new report, The Nature Conservancy, a conservation-focused nonprofit, arguesthat trees are an important public health asset and should be funded as such.
“Just like the public health sector has gotten used to thinking about walkable cities as something they need to care about, we’re advocating that they need to think about nature and parks as part of that quest,” says Robert McDonald, a lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy and co-author of the report.
McDonald hopes that cities will start to integrate urban forestry into their other health, wellness, and environmental initiatives."
The article gives some ideas as to how we can get more trees by thinking of them as part of public health.
Read on ....