The cities we live in are growing more every year, which means more large scale, and potentially gray, buildings. Urban forests bring a lot of colour to cities, and give people a place to enjoy nature during a busy work day, if unable to get out of the city. Urban forestry also encourages people to hike, bike, walk and enjoy nature a little more. This cuts down on transportation, and vehicle emissions. Trees filter the polluted air we breathe in every day and property value of homes increases with more trees, and green infrastructure as well!
Green infrastructure also increases in value over time, as trees mature they provide more benefits to residents. Trees can lengthen the lifespan of our manmade infrastructure like roads or sidewalks by shading them from the elements and harsh weather. Sheltering the buildings also allows for less energy to be spent keeping their temperatures balanced!
A few cities that are perfect examples of large scale urban forestry are Belfast, Tokyo, and Washington. Ireland has been dubbed the “Emerald Isle” because of all the beautiful green space in its environment. The Forest of Belfast is a forest that includes all of Belfast, Ireland. Tokyo experienced a major decrease in trees and green space which led to them restoring street trees. By 1990 21,630 hectares of Tokyo’s green space was made up of forest. Washington has nearly 2 million trees across the city. Washington’s trees remove a large amount of pollution per year, store tons of carbon and reduce the energy usage.
Parks, green spaces, and urban forests are an important component of urban environments. They provide health benefits to citizens, reduced energy, reduced cost, and protect our manmade infrastructure. Do you have an urban forest or park in your neighbourhood? Share with us in the comments below!