Debunking Anti-Tree Myths

Most of the reasons street trees are sometimes unpopular with residents are either untrue or can be mitigated.

August 8, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Rua Goncalo de Carvalho

Amigos da Rua Goncalo / Wikimedia Commons

There's a surprising amount of resistance to the ideas of street trees planted in sidewalks, according to an article by Catalina Jaramillo:

Trees aren’t generally controversial. They usually look nice, they provide shade and improve the air and water quality. Scientists say they even make people happier. 

But when it comes to planting a tree on the street, many Philadelphians say — nuh uh, not in my sidewalk. 

The reasoning for this anti-tree vitriol is fairly easily debunked, according to Jaramillo.

The article walks through a series of myths about street trees, providing evidence to the contrary:

  • MYTH 1: ‘There’s few trees in lower-income neighborhoods because residents don’t want them’ 
  • MYTH 2: ‘Trees get into pipes’ 
  • MYTH 3: ‘Tree planting and maintenance is prohibitively expensive’
  • MYTH 4: ‘Trees destroy sidewalks’ 

As noted by Jaramillo, sometimes there are risks and liabilities associated with street trees, and sometimes the trees chosen for planting on streets are the wrong trees for the job. But still, trees can and should be far more beneficial than harmful, and it's far more worth the effort of having trees than not to have any trees at all.

Thursday, August 8, 2019 in PlanPhilly

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.