Where’s the shade? Trees are not an immediate or whole answer to keeping cool.
Trees and the shade they provide are one of the best ways of cooling cities. But they also present challenges that are best resolved by managing this shared resource as part of an urban commons.
Allowing residents to remove trees within three metres of buildings or ‘ancillary structures’ could dramatically alter the green infrastructure of dense inner Sydney suburbs like Rozelle.
Greater urban density is making it harder to preserve, let alone increase, tree cover. It's vital, then, to demonstrate the full value of green infrastructure for healthy liveable cities.
Imagine Hyde Park in Sydney without its tree cover … the impact on this space and the many people who spend time in it would be profound.
Cities around Australia have plans to increase their green space, but new research shows not all green spaces are equal. Good tree cover is better than grassed areas for residents' mental health.
Australian cities could lose some of their most common trees to climate change.
Thirty tree species make up more than half of Australia's urban forests. Some won't survive climate change, so cities must plant a more diverse mix of the right species to preserve their tree cover.
Contact with nature reduces stress and aggression, one reason scholars say urban green space may reduce violence.
Some parks reduce violence in the local vicinity. Other parks attract crime. The difference has to do with how these urban green spaces are designed, programmed and managed, experts say.
The lonely Malham Ash at dawn in Yorkshire Dales National Park.
A new study has calculated the tremendous cost of ash dieback to the UK economy.
Not all of the solutions to the climate and ecological crisis have to be painful.
Just off Washington Square in New York City.
Trees clean urban air, store carbon, slow floodwaters and can be used to design safer streets. Scholars are starting to calculate what these services are worth – a fitting topic for Arbor Day.
Koalas can adapt to urban areas with enough suitable green spaces but would benefit from wildlife crossing areas to reduce their risk of being hit by cars.
Koalas can cope with the stresses of city life provided we plan urban developments in ways that help meet their basic needs.
Brisbane’s South Bank parkland isn’t exactly getting out in the wild, but experiences of urban nature are important for building people’s connection to all living things.
Moves to connect people with nature for both the conservation and health benefits point to the need for people to experience nature as they find it in the city, rather than only out in natural areas.
A vine shade structure being installed in Cavenagh Street will help cool the hottest street in Darwin city centre.
Darwin's climate is getting even hotter and it's one of the main reasons people leave the city. A lot more can be done, though, to make our tropical cities safe, cool and enjoyable.
Street in Hangzhou, China, with trees separating a cycle track from road traffic and from the sidewalk.
Many US cities are investing in bike infrastructure and shade trees. Properly located, these additions can make streets cooler, cleaner and safer for all users – even those who drive.
Felicity Burke/The Conversation
Urban trees are literally made with the help of human breath – they turn the carbon dioxide we breathe out into the building blocks of plant growth. So your local trees have a piece of you inside them.