Redrawing Project

Cities; Urbanism; Architecture; Art

StreeTree – Introduction

StreeTree05

StreeTree WebApp

Dublin City Council in collaboration with Workday Ireland [1] and Motti Ruimy and Paul Kearns of Redrawing Project is developing an innovative ‘Smart City’ policy app titled STREETREE.

Utilising both Workdays technological expertise and publicly available data such as air pollution, population density, deprivation and walking patterns, we generate a criteria matrix that allows the city to better spatially identify where street trees should be planted.

 STREETREE facilitates greater objective transparency in city decision-making, empowers local communities, and assists in promoting and profiling a ‘greener’, more liveable, economically dynamic and socially just inner city.

Background Context

Much has been written about the multiple socio-economic and environmental benefits of urban street trees. Street trees improve your mental health, clean the air of our cities, support local businesses, increase the value of your home, assist bio-diversity and generally are delightful and pleasing to the eye. Most people living in cities would like to leave live on or near a leafy street.

There are now many ‘smart’ tools and policy apps available that number crunch all these benefits to allow our city to better understand the ‘real’ value of their existing Street Tree distribution[2].

Such smart tools can facilitate appropriate quantification of the benefits including the monetisation of the value of each and every street tree. All of this work greatly assists decision makers and wider civic society to positively make the case for the greening of our cities.

But how does our City or Municipality decide where to plant the next programme of urban street tree planting? What are the criteria employed? Are they publicly available? Which ‘Department” decides? Who exactly decides?

Presumably most cities will make the case that their proposed spatial tree planting strategy follows a well-considered rational urban design or greening landscape strategy. Many perhaps may argue that these strategies have been informed by an inclusive process of democratic or civic participation.

But who or what informs the strategies themselves? What are the criteria underpinning them? And as citizens and shouldn’t we better understand and inform ourselves of how this decision-making is made?

Maybe the next batch of street trees are simply planted where there is “space” or better still where there are few or no existing street trees? And does this necessarily make sense? Why plant trees where few people live or where few people see them? In any event there are potentially an infinite numbers of locations from which to choose from, which street, and where exactly on that street?

Tree planting costs money. Urban Street planting can require additional, sometimes significant additional costs. Perhaps street trees are planted where it is the cheapest place to plant them? A reasonable criterion but what are the cost-benefit criteria that inform this analysis?

It is often easier and convenient (cheaper too) to plant urban trees in an existing park or green open space. So maybe your next batch of City Street trees are planted where your municipality has decided it is the easiest or most convenient place to plant them? If so what does easy or convenient mean?

Perhaps a municipal champion or area manager has spearheaded an inspiring street local tree planting initiative? That is great for the area they champion, but is that fair to other areas in the city with less inspiring local civic “leaders”? Few cities would admit that tree planting strategies are “informed” by who shouts the loudest – a response to the greatest local “political” or community pressure. Every neighbourhood after all tends to want MORE street trees. Even fewer cities – in public at least – would simply state that “We know best…We have been doing it for years”.

••• ReDD_3-5 - p92-177 hi_Page_84So where should the next 500, 1,000, or 15,000 urban streets in your city be planted?

Who’s asking? We are.

We have designed a simple tool to prioritise those areas of your city that you as city believe is most in need for street tree planting.

We also give you – the citizen or city the opportunity to “play” with the criteria as you feel fit to decide what is best for your city.

Utilising both Workdays technological expertise and publicly available data such as air pollution, population density, deprivation and walking patterns, we generate a criteria matrix that allows the city to better spatially identify where street trees should be planted.

STREETREE facilitates greater objective transparency in city decision-making, empowers local communities, and assists in promoting and profiling a ‘greener’, more liveable, economically dynamic and socially just inner city.

[1] Workday Ireland Workday, Inc. is an on‑demand financial management and human capital management software vendor. http://www.workday.com/uk/
[2]  http://www.ltoa.org.uk/resources/cavat

Links:

What Are Trees Worth to Cities?

In Cities, Trees Grow on Money

Green spaces and cognitive development in primary schoolchildren

Green spaces linked to improved cognitive development in schoolchildren

Scientists Confirm Trees Make you Feel Happier and Younger

Growing Up in the Inner City; Green Spaces as Places to Grow

 

 

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One comment on “StreeTree – Introduction

  1. Pingback: Streets Full Of Trees | Broadsheet.ie

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2016 by in Articles, Events, Redrawing Dublin, StreeTree and tagged , .

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