Trees and the City: Treepedia Maps Tree Cover in Cities

Treepedia has developed an index to show us the tree-cover in cities

Trees don't just make our cities more beautiful, they act as natural air-pollution filters, cool urban temperatures, reduce noise and smell, and attract birds: thanks to trees, our ever more congested cities can be much more pleasant places in which to live. How are world cities doing when it comes to trees? What are the cities with the highest tree density? Treepedia tell us just that.

Author Annalisa Dorigo, 07.26.17

Translation Annalisa Dorigo:

Trees don’t just make our cities more beautiful, they act as natural air-pollution filters, cool urban temperatures, reduce noise and smell, and attract birds: thanks to trees, our ever more congested cities can be much more pleasant places in which to live. How are world cities doing when it comes to trees? What are the cities with the highest tree density? Treepedia tell us just that.

Treepedia was born in 2016 to map the the density of trees in major cities. Through its Green View Index’ (GVI) – which uses google street view images to capture trees at street level, Treepedia captures diffuse tree cover around the city – rather than trees in parks or designated green areas – and is therefore a tool to convey the real experience of how green a city is at neighbourhood level.

A project of MIT’S ‘Senseable City Lab‘, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, the Treepedia GVI uses a scale of 0-100 to indicate the percentage of canopy cover in a specific location. Their maps allow us to see how green a city is, and also to compare green canopies of multiple locations.

A tool for participative urban planning

MIT Senseable City Lab

Currently 23 cities from different continents have been indexed, however Treepedia makes it clear that their aim is not “rating cities to compete in a green olympics”. Rather, they want to engage ordinary people in urban vegetation improvements, ensuring that urban planning is accessible to those outside of the field also, and to support a more participative process whereby resident can affect changes at their neighbourhood level. 

Which are the greenest cities? 

Here are the 15 greenest cities and their tree-cover density (GVI):

15. Tel Aviv, Israel — 17.5%

14. Boston, Massachusetts — 18.2%

13. Miami, Florida — 19.4%

12. Toronto, Canada — 19.5%

11. Seattle, Washington — 20%

10. Amsterdam, Netherlands — 20.6%

9. Geneva, Switzerland — 21.4%

8. Frankfurt, Germany — 21.5%

7. Sacramento, California — 23.6%

6. Johannesburg, South Africa — 23.6%

5. Durban, South Africa — 23.7%

4. Cambridge, Massachusetts — 25.3%

3. Vancouver, Canada — 25.9%

2. Sydney, Australia — 25.9%

1. Singapore — 29.3% 

Treepedia helps tapping into trees as powerful and cost effective allies  

Although increasing tree-cover will need to take into account specific urban settings (climate, habitat, human density) for maximum positive impact , cities are increasingly realising that trees can be a powerful and cost effective ally to help them combat air-pollution, mitigate climate change, regulate local and regional hydrology and prevent floods, as well as means to support biodiversity. And while it remains to be seen how quickly green canopy policies are actually taken up and implemented, certain is that by engaging citizens, a tool such as Treepedia can help speed up the process.

In the video below the benefits of urban trees are nicely laid out: 

TAGGED WITH
AirVisual: Tell Me Where You Are, I’ll Tell You What You’re Breathing

Good air quality in cities is a real challenge. Traffic, building sites, roadworks, rubbish trucks: the toxic particles that they generate all pose a serious health threat, and it's one that's invisible to the naked eye. Enter AirVisual.

Inclusive, Sustainable, Smart: World Cities Day Takes a Look at Our Urban Future

October 31 is earmarked each year as World Cities Day by the United Nations, prompting us to assess how cities can develop in a way that is beneficial to the environment and residents alike. 

Everyone’s a Farmer with Treedom

Key allies in our fight against climate change and its impacts, trees also provide social and economic benefits to the communities in which they grow. This organisation is making tree-planting around the globe as easy as a click of a button. Now we can all be (digital) farmers, from the comfort of our chair...

The World’s First Covered Bike Path – Berlin’s Latest Arrival?

An 8.9 km long, covered bike lane, passing right through the heart of Berlin? Amazingly-designed and full of innovative technologies? It might not be as crazy as it sounds: the actual route already exists, and with the help of just a few small changes, the concept could soon become reality. RESET talked to Simon Wöhr, one of the brains behind the scheme.

3598029211_da12cf8911_z
USFS Region 5
Planting a Billion Trees In a Year – Can It Be Done with Drones?

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are multi-functional. From delivering packages to wildlife surveillance, drones have been on the biodiversity frontlines as wildlife conservation tools. In our age of climate change and deforestation, drones now take a bigger step towards reversing the loss of forests and trees.

Air Pollution

The term “air pollution” conjures up a broad array of images – from hazy smog to acid rain and buildings stained from exhaust fumes. Equally broad are its causes and negative effects on human and environmental health. In fact, the vast majority the world’s population is adversely affected by air pollution, perhaps without even realizing it. The good news is, since most air pollution is caused by human activity, it's a problem that all of us can do something about.

Agroforestry and its Benefits

Agroforestry is the management and integration of trees, crops and/or livestock on the same plot of land and can be an integral component of productive agriculture. It may include existing native forests and forests established by landholders. It is a flexible concept, involving both small and large-sized land holdings.

How To: Start Your Own Urban or Community Garden

From Berlin to Bangalore, backyard-deprived urban dwellers are using every spare inch of space to grow gardens on terraces and rooftops while others are pooling talents and resources to set up and manage community gardens.

Forests – Our Green Lungs

Forests all over the world are vanishing at an alarming rate. As the green lungs of Mother Earth, they are vital to our health and survival. The year 2011 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the "International Year of the Forest". Its aim was to promote awareness and knowledge about the conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of the present and future generations.