Many cities want to plant trees. Why are some residents reluctant?
In Pittsburgh, a plan to plant 100,000 trees will be coupled with a strategy to maintain the trees and communicate their benefits.
(Photo credit: Payton Chung / CC BY 2.0)
To help limit climate change, the city of Pittsburgh intends to plant 100,000 new trees by 2030.
The effort will focus on bringing more shade to low-income neighborhoods that lack green space. But some residents are hesitant about new trees because of past problems.
Jamil Bey is CEO of the UrbanKind Institute, a consulting firm that’s advising the city. He says previously, the city lacked good strategies for maintaining trees and collecting leaves. And tree species were not chosen carefully.
“And so as a result, many sidewalks were torn up from the tree roots. Residents were responsible for cleaning up after the trees … and residents didn’t see the benefit,” he says.
So Bey’s group and the city are working to keep these problems from happening again.
“We’ve adopted a ‘right tree in the right place’ strategy, and we have an approved species list of trees,” he says. “And so street trees … that are likely to interfere with power lines or sewer or water lines are forbidden.”
His group is also communicating the benefits of trees, such as local cooling and cleaner air, so residents know that trees not only help the climate, but people, too.