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  • Kayle B. Luberts

Planting Trees in the City

Planting trees in the city not only can be seen as the city attempting “city beautiful”, but also can be seen as the city improving their citizen’s overall health.

Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, states that trees in Chicago remove more than 18,000 tons of air pollution every year. They also state that one mature tree can supply oxygen for up to four people. These are not the only beneficial factors for planting trees but should be more than enough for any city to consider in their future planning.

Leslie Jones, vice president of External Affairs at American Forests, and Maggie Cordish, fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., published an article titled “How to improve Americans’ health: Plant trees”. Their article is about the importance of planting trees with focus on cities. Planting trees throughout the city in will produce a type of “vibe” or “style” for the city. This can be seen as City Beautiful. Placing trees in specific areas while incorporating artistic touches can increase the desirability of city living without losing all aspects of nature. I believe the concept of tree cover aligns with one of Ebenezer Howard’s visions of how garden cities are laid out. Not only does planting trees give a city a better “look” but is also useful to the city’s financial well-being. Leslie and Maggie state in their article that tree cover provides a cooling effect as much as 9 degrees. This can directly save each homeowner ni air condition costing and can help prevent heat exhaustion. The Arbor Day Foundation also agrees on the cooling effect but states a 10 degrees cooling factor. The cooling effect can be attributed to the canopy shading and the release of water from their leaves.

Another benefit for planting trees is the fact that tree’s clean our drinking water. Many cities have water treatment plants that cost thousands of dollars to operate to clean and treat the water before it can be returned to the environment. By planting trees, the city could save a portion of citizen’s tax money and the trees could help keep up with the constant demand for clean water.

City planners need to be looking more into the future with current trends of urbanization at 70%. A large portion of Americans are living in urban settings. Today it is more important than ever to take steps to provide nature’s healing and beauty. With this is increase of urbanization there is also the trend of cities losing trees. Leslie and Maggie state in their article that cities combined are losing more 36 million trees per year. Some of the older cities that did not take planning into consideration are also lacking in neighborhoods where relatively close open space is not an option without the destruction of buildings or infrastructure. The quickest and cost-effective solution would be to line boulevards and cut opening in the concrete jungle for small trees.

In conclusion, planning commission’s/city planners should consider planting trees as a simple cost-effective way of providing a beautiful city while looking out for their city’s health. As Maggie and Leslie stated “Trees should be something we all can agree on”


Jones, Leslie; Cordish, Maggie . “How to improve Americans' health: Plant trees” The Times ; Shreveport, La. [Shreveport, La] 25 July 2020: A.4 (accessed September 10, 2020)

Arbor Day Foundation, “Free Facts”, Arbor Day Foundation, (accessed September 10, 2020)


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