The Top Ten and Trees
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2021 07:51:41 -0700 (PDT)
Reference below to an in depth article in the NYTimes on the effects of the 
lack of trees in the in less wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those that 
were formerly redlined. Neighborhoods with the highest number of trees have the 
highest median incomes.

The reason for posting it here is to state the obvious — when developing new 
communities the empty lot will still look rather empty. Any existing landscape 
is likely to have been sheared. During those seemingly interminable years 
before move-in, a head start on learning to garden and starting trees and 
plants in containers could be the best use of your time. Of all the people who 
moved into Takoma Village, it was the avid gardeners who made the most 
difference the fastest. We had a lot of mud under the sod. The basic contractor 
level of plantings was done nicely but in the best of circumstances in new 
construction this was cookie cutter and sparse. That we have a fairly large 
number of people who weed and mulch and one who championed writing a grant to 
get more trees planted led to looking spiffy.

One way of convincing prospective purchasers of the seriousness of your 
endeavor might be to demonstrate your commitment to a green environment, and at 
the same time make ready to have large plants and trees without spending a 
fortune buying them. Or waiting another 2 years to get them growing.

Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans?

Many aerial photos of neighborhoods in cities across the country, the treed and 
the untreed neighborhoods. Paired with median income levels.

Heat kills more people in the US than any other form of extreme winter. Temps 
are 10 degrees lower in neighborhoods with tree canopies.

> Healthy trees trap air pollutants, which helps avoid670,000 incidences of 
> acute respiratory symptoms each year. Being in the presence of trees has also 
> been found to improve youth educational performance, mental health, physical 
> health and social connections. A well-maintained tree canopy may even reduce 
> several types of crime and create economic opportunities, including careers 
> that cannot be outsourced to plant and maintain those trees.

> In predominantly white areas, trees cover one-third of the surface. In 
> communities of color, barely one-fifth.

The American Forests organization (since 1875) has a tree equity score website 
so you can check your score:

Whatever the original causes were for lack of trees and greenery in general — 
the choice of concrete over gardens — correcting it will require education in 
growing things. A great place for horticulturists to shine and bring the 
community together around a common task. (A practice opportunity.)

Sharon Villines, Editor & Publisher
Affordable Housing means 30% of household income
Cohousing means self-developed, self-governed, self-managed

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