Note — Mar 01, 2020

Trees As Infrastructure

Seen in → No.115

Source →

Excellent piece by the Dark Matter Laboratories team, presenting lots of information and well linked throughout, making the case for a different view and more serious emphasis on trees in cities. Covers some of the history of how trees were viewed in cities, the problems it creates, what we can do differently, a more holistic approach to tree cover, and the many benefits mature and thriving trees can bring to citizens, resilience, and a more solid answer to climate change disruptions. Plus, lots of lovely illustrations helping to understand the issues.

They can regenerate soil quality, reduce heat island effects, offer food and shading, support urban biodiversity or mitigate energy usage. Our municipal urban forestry practices should work towards aligning the human species with these processes to live by and through trees. […]

[T]he ecological benefits of trees substantially start after 50 years of existence; we are currently building a deficient urban forest. Shifting our view to perceive public trees as assets rather than liabilities is an important aspect of maintaining and enhancing the benefits that trees provide in an urban setting. […]

As Kate Raworth points out we need to recognise that “for the first time we can describe and measure nature’s generosity and life systems in nature’s own metrics […] we can measure the depletion of ecosystems, we can measure the quality of the soil, […] the health of humans, our nutrition, our educational level, our self-reported levels of happiness. We can actually measure the well-being of people and planet in natural and social metrics, on the terms of life itself.” […]

What if we start focusing on natural infrastructures as part of civic capital that can service as sewage, flood management, healthcare and waste management simultaneously?