When Streets Have No Trees

Caitlin Dempsey


There are many benefits to an urban tree canopy.  The presence of trees in cities yields multiple benefits: twenty-two according to this report posted on the Walkable Communities web site.

Trees help moderate the speed of urban motorists by defining street edges.  Trees also provide protection from the elements, shielding pedestrians from wind, rain, and sun.  Trees also help reduce pollution, lower ambient air temperatures, and prolong pavements by protecting it from heat damage caused by high temperatures.  The effects of trees in an urban setting also have psychological benefits.  Trees help reduce blood pressure as researchers have discovered that the presence of trees has a calming effect on people. Kaid Benefield laid out his argument for the urban tree canopy in his piece, “The Case for More Urban Trees”.

Beyond all these benefits, trees add greatly to the aesthetic appeal of a location.  John Lavey from Community Builders has created a gallery of animated gifs showing neighborhood locations with and without trees to underline this argument.

The removal of trees makes these urban spaces seem stark and less inviting.  For more visit: Street trees, and streets without trees (via Wayback Machine).

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Hyde Park, Boise, Idaho

An example of the before and after pictures being displayed on John Lavey’s article,  Street trees, and streets without trees.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.