Planting trees in urban areas can reduce the impacts of urban heat islands.
In 2015, 6,700 premature deaths were caused by urban heat – this can be reduced by a third by planting more trees.
Photo: Jaana Dielenberg
Urban plantings are part of the solution to living in warmer cities, but most tree and shrub species in the world’s cities will struggle too. The impacts on liveability could be huge.
Aerial view of a residential neighbourhood with abundant urban forest around it.
Well-designed residential developments with abundant tree cover can help protect cities against urban heat and flooding.
Although it is important to have a diversity of tree species in urban landscapes, planting and protecting taller species should be strongly encouraged.
There is a growing interest in planting small trees in urban areas. However, large trees have significant advantages.
The Marble Arch Mound has been dubbed the “worst attraction” in London.
Pop-up spaces can be successful, they just need to be better thought through and created with urban ecology in mind rather than economics.
The Cheonggyecheon stream in the heart of Seoul, which used to be a major highway.
Despite their good intentions, cities rarely have the full set of skills and capabilities to turn their plans into a reality. Our research looks at what needs to change.
Green spaces are inequitably distributed across cities: The quality and quantity are lower in racialized neighbourhoods.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Green spaces can be part of the plan to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19. But city officials and policy-makers must address systemic racism for urban green spaces to benefit public health.
The more cities grow, the more urban residents need access to enjoy urban forests.
The more our cities grow, the more we need access to enjoy — and be in relationship with — urban forests to maintain our well-being.
Several large cities have set ambitious targets for increasing their tree canopy. The city of Montréal has adopted an action plan that aims to plant 185,000 trees by 2025.
To protect urban trees, it’s important to reduce the impact from construction. Advance planning and close supervision can help.
Drop of Light/Shutterstock
We must re-establish contact between our cities and the natural world.
At the peak of a summer heatwave in Adelaide, an aerial survey of land surface temperatures reveals just how much cooler neighbourhoods with good tree and vegetation cover can be.
Inner Melbourne alone has lost 2,000 street trees to major developments within a decade. Losing tree cover makes it even more difficult for our cities to cope with an increasingly tough climate.
Turning a street tree into timber is much more respectful and useful than mulching it all.
City trees are often short-lived and many others get cut down in their prime. Turning them into mulch both wastes timber and releases stored carbon. A wood rescue program creates a more fitting legacy.
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.
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.
Melbourne has a rich legacy of urban parks thanks to planning decisions made when the city was first established.
Expanding green cities needs a holistic approach, and learning from Melbourne and Canberra is a good place to start.
City trees don’t just look after themselves.
Tree bonds are set to be introduced by a Melbourne city council to protect city trees. But how do they work and why are they needed?
Continued development of our cities is putting pressure on urban green spaces.
Achieving green cities will require more than just canopy cover targets and central city strategies. It will need new approaches to urban planning and development.