February, 2019

When you think about your favorite neighborhood or street in Minneapolis, what role do the trees play in what makes that place so special?  As Minneapolis residents first, and landscape architects second, we are grateful for the City’s prioritization of street trees. 

Street trees play a large role in the perception of beauty in our neighborhoods and city streets.  Trees also provide numerous social, health and economic benefits for cities; countless studies back this up.  Trees are complex living organisms.  Tree mortality is an issue we face continuously, due to a myriad of causes.  In fact, cities everywhere are losing trees. An article released by the USDA Forest Service (Nowak and Greenfield, 2018) estimates that we are losing 36 million trees nationally per year.  

When it comes down to it, planting trees is a civic duty.  It doesn’t matter if it delivers a positive return on investment.  Planting, growing, and maintaining a diverse tree canopy in a city simply makes it a better place to live.  Several weeks ago, Star Tribune published an article about the tree replacements on Nicollet Mall.  Reading beyond the headline, you’d see some of the reasons why trees were lost, and how the costs for replacements were planned for part of the overall project cost.  We commend the City of Minneapolis for their commitment to planting trees downtown and throughout the city, as well as their commitment to maintaining them.  If humans are destined to live in cities, we owe it to ourselves to make them beautiful, livable, and healthy.