With global warming, the importance of trees multiplies a hundredfold, especially in cities and urbanized areas. They offer protection from calamities and diseases.
Urban street trees, specifically, provides benefits not just to the environment but to the people around them simply by existing in the middle and side of the roads, in parks, and around pocket communities.
The trees that are planted in the middle of the road, for instance, are more than just green decorations even when many of us don’t always appreciate them.
Even a couple of studies claim that many urban residents take refuge in green public spaces to escape from stress and boost their physical and mental health.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama most likely understand this when he ordered the restoration of the center island and the planning of trees to replace those that went missing along Sergio Osmeña Boulevard last month.
According to Dan Burden’s article on the 22 Benefits of Urban Trees, investing in putting “urban trees” in the city sidewalks are actually very beneficial not only in the aesthetic aspect but also to the society itself. Here are some points he wrote that are really interesting and could make Cebu government officials think twice:
Urban street trees help reduce traffic violations and accidents.
The trees will create an illusion of defined, vertical walls that will be framing the highway streets. This will help the motorists control their movement on the road and assess their speed, which will eventually lead them to reduce their speed. In this manner, less traffic violations and accidents will occur in the highway.
Urban street trees provide safer walking environment.
The trees create visual walls that provide distinct edges to sidewalks. The trees also helps in further separating motorists from pedestrians and buildings.
Urban street trees offers security boost.
Trees help boost the pleasant walking environments, bringing about increased walking, pride, care of place, association, and therefore actual ownership and surveillance of homes, blocks, neighbourhoods plazas, businesses, and other civic spaces.
Urban street trees offers less drainage framework.
The trees can absorb most of the precipitation through their leaf system, allowing evaporation back into the atmosphere. This moisture will not hit the ground. Some of this water also naturally percolates into the ground water and aquifer. Storm water runoff and flooding potential to urban properties is therefore reduced.
Urban street trees protects residents from rain, sun, and heat.
The trees provide sun exposure, which could help in using less sun blocking chemicals on the skin.
Urban street trees reduces harm from tailpipe exhaustion.
A major public health concern is the exhaust from automobile and truck exhaust. The trees help reduce the impact of the exhaust.
Urban street trees lower urban temperatures.
Asphalt and concrete trees and parking lots are known to increase urban temperatures by three to seven degrees. A properly shaded neighbourhood can reduce energy bills of a household by 15 percent to 35 percent.