The many benefits of street trees and urban greenery

We humans have an intrinsic emotional need to connect with nature. The eminent biologist E. O. Wilson first called this need “biophilia,” and the term has stuck. Yet cities also, and fundamentally, need the structure of hardscape urbanism – streets, buildings, and infrastructure – in sufficient density to achieve environmental and economic efficiency and nurture social bonds. It is critical that we incorporate nature into cities, but we must do so in a way that supports urbanity rather than replaces it.

At the neighborhood scale

I remember a happy day in our neighborhood a few years back.  When I came home from work, three new trees had been planted on our block.  That’s a small thing, of course, just three street trees.  But their predecessors had been sorely missed for a few years.  When we moved into the neighborhood a little over 20 years ago, one of its major assets was large, stately street trees, most of them oaks, on nearly every block.  The neighborhood was built in the 1920s, so our oldest trees would have been around 70 years old when we moved in.

 

Continue reading in: Better Cities & Towns

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