Trees are an important part of any urban or rural city. They help remove particulate pollution from the air, reduce crime rates, prevent water pollution, lower cooling costs in the summer, provide food, and keep our minds at ease. But many urban areas have a distinct lack of tree cover.
A new app seeks to help citizens find out where their cities need more trees. It’s called the Trees and Health App. It was developed by researchers at Portland State University with funding from the U.S. Forest Service.
This app allows city planners and concerned citizens alike see where tree cover is limited and shows at a micro level where trees can be planted to get the most ideal results over time.
The map also shows you where air quality is at its best and worst as a result of traffic-related pollution. Other filters show resident demographics, helping city planners target tree planting in areas where it most benefits citizens. Neighborhoods with older residents and poorer neighborhoods often lack sufficient tree cover.
“We created an online platform that says where are the dirtiest, hottest, and most vulnerable people in each of these cities. Cities can then evaluate where they might plant trees spatially at a neighborhood level,” said Vivek Shandas, one of the app’s creators.
Currently, the app has 13 major U.S. cities mapped out, allowing millions of Americans to take part in the conversation about tree planting and take action themselves. With any luck, tools like this will help
Check out the app and see for yourself where you should plant your next tree!