Multitasking Trees in Cities

photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statement

Trees are an important part of our city but they are something many of us do not think much about. They help environmentally, economically, and socially in many different and interesting ways. In this blog we will be looking at how trees can positively impact the economic well being of our cities and personal lives.                                   



Though the planting and maintenance of trees and sidewalks does cost tax dollars, the shade providedby tree-lined streets can save money as well. The sun causes pavement to expand and contract with temperature change throughout the day. The ultra violate rays from the sun makes the asphalt binding dry, crack, and eventually erode away with the wind and rain. Shade from trees protect the asphalt from excess sun exposure and help regulate temperature, ultimately allowing shaded asphalt roads to last a decade longer than un-shaded asphalt roads.

They can also protect our infrastructure by managing rainfall. Trees help direct stormwater, allowing it to penetrate into the ground and fill the water table. This can displace stormwater that could otherwise gather and cause flooding, costing lives and money.

Trees can further protect our infrastructure by preventing erosion. Tree roots hold soil in place so that it does not wash away with rain or blow away with the wind. This can help prevent erosion and mudslides.



Trees planted on the eastern, western, and southwestern sides of the home can reduce air conditioning bills by as much as 50% compared to homes without shade-providing trees. If these trees are deciduous, and lose their leaves in winter, they allow sunlight to warm the house in cooler months, saving on heating bills. Finally, planting evergreen trees on the northern side of a home can block harsh winter winds, saving from 10% to 50% of energy used to heat homes in cooler months.


Cities that are landscaped with large mature trees are more attractive to businesses and their consumers! People perceive landscaped and tree covered streets to be more likeable than those without trees. The general public consensus is that, not only are businesses with trees nicer, but their goods are better than shopping areas without trees and landscaping. In fact, people shopping in such locations will shop for longer and spend more money! Not only the general population but also businesses themselves are more attracted to renting in areas with landscaped and tree lined streets. 


So, next time you are out in your city, stop to think about the trees. Are there trees near by?  How are the trees, or lack of trees, impacting your surroundings? Are they providing shade? Sheltering you from wind? Are they providing curb appeal?

Industrial District Green will be hosting a Tree Planting event in the Industrial District on Saturday, February 7th from 9am to 1:30am. We will be meeting in front of Uptown Pup, 819 Mateo St in Los Angeles. It’s a perfect opportunity to support your local economy!




Photos via Flickr: Travis Nep Smith