Pinto de Bader, the Office of Sustainability’s urban forest lead, told InvestigateWest that city officials want to gather information and reach out to residents of the least-treed neighborhoods before barging into those areas and planting trees without considering the area’s culture and day-to-day living patterns. The people who appealed Seattle’s ADU liberalization specifically called out the threat that backyard cottages pose to trees. Rather than relaxing restrictions on single family zones, why don’t we try PLACE making, actual planning (as opposed to just building which we are great at- building is not planning), and considering that PEOPLE live in the city, have made investments here in their neighborhoods and have a right to opinions about the city’s failure to protect historic values, community values, neighborhood planning, and tree protection. The city has roughly 500,000 curb-side parking spaces . Tree removal fees could be the financial straw the breaks the camel’s back, dissuading an owner from building a new home. Source: City of Seattle. Compared to LiDAR, the aerial photography results are higher across the board. So even if there is a infinitesimal trade-off here, the evidence strongly suggests that it would be a pennywise and pound foolish trade-off toward fostering a more affordable community for the most cost-burdened households. In contrast, Seattle’s proposed Residential Small Lot zoning would add tree planting requirements with no balancing incentive. While the city is 2% short of that goal according to the 2016 Seattle Tree Canopy Assessment, development throughout neighborhoods during the boom has visibly led to losses of tree canopy. What I’m seeing replacing these conifers is pathetic: spindly little maples that barely offer shade. Tree canopy for Seattle, WA, mapped to 2016 ground conditions. 27: 363-372. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.03.030. You write: “Limiting new homes in the city core to preserve trees pushes homebuilding to outlying areas, accelerating the eradication of not only trees, but forests.”. GIS Assessment and urban tree canopy assessment iTree Hydro Modeling, GIS & Urban Forestry technical expertise SCOTT MACO Director of Research & Development The Davey Institute Over 19 years in the Urban Forest Industry Leads development of iTree Suite of Tools iTree Developer, Project Stakeholder & Collaborator. Regarding planning, well, I have a masters in urban planning so I get it. So the single-family decline accounts for about four fifths of the observed total city-wide loss of 6 percent. Webinar questions . The place growing cities can make room for more trees is the publicly-owned right-of-way, where, Seattle’s 500,000 curbside parking spaces alone cover land that could hold perhaps one million trees and boost the city’s tree population by two thirds. To help fill that void, researchers at MIT recently developed a new metric derived from Google street view images called the, (GVI) that quantifies how much tree cover a person at street level experiences. Street trees may not thrive in hostile, space limited locations. Some homeowners cut trees for, or safety reasons, but that also doesn’t seem prevalent enough to be a main cause. Sightline Institute is non-partisan and does not oppose, support, or endorse any political candidate or party. The problem is you focus your reader only on the cost of regulations to housing (the trees) and overlook broader determents of a more affordable community (the forest). As far as I can tell, the claim is as inaccurate as the more credible but still flawed anecdotal argument that affordable housing and development are general threats to trees (which in some particular instances they clearly are). The study compared 1993 to 2014 and detected tree canopy, in six of the ten urban villages studied, and no statistically significant changes in the remaining four. Regarding tradeoffs, I would point out that housing insecurity causes all kind of health issues for people. The 2016 LiDAR dataset will serve as the What’s worse, bad data can take on a life of its own. The necessity of tree removal is often result of other constraints on site design not the number of housing units. Which brings to my second comment, which was a point of degree. Similarly, Seattle has about 15,000 street intersections, two thirds of which are in single-family zones. City-wide (magenta bars), the data show a statistically significant decline from 33 to 31 percent between 2007 and 2015, and that change is mirrored in a statistically significant drop from 39 to 36 percent in single family zones (yellow). Despite the evidence, however, the myth is strong: the average person-on-the-street likely assumes that rampant development is stripping Seattle of its trees. This article has some good points but side-steps a number issues relating to the data documenting the decline in the size, diversity and distribution of urban trees in Portland. Research shows that all of those measures improved with more greenery. To that end, the city is adding three positions to its volunteer Urban Forestry Commission, an advisory group of experts created in 2009. And even if the construction of new homes reaches the intensity where it causes tree loss, it doesn’t justify draconian tree protection rules that could thwart homebuilding and exacerbate the shortage of housing that’s driving Seattle rents more and more out of reach of those on the low end of the economic ladder. Given the, well-recognized high value of urban trees. But how many people choose to escape to green field development on the edge simply because we haven’t figured out how to create dense urban communities that could be livable and affordable for the entire population? I’m also concerned about future tree rules that may end up sacrificing homes for trees. Additionally, when planting relies on preferences of property owners, “right tree right place” is not always employed, with long lasting consequences. Puget Sound Urban Forestry & Stormwater Project Image credits: … Shoreline, WA – 30.6% canopy – Urban Tree Canopy Assessment – March 2011 Seattle 2016 LiDAR Canopy Cover Assessment . More specifically, how might it be added to this figure that Michael Andersen created on the cost of new Apartment buildings in Portland: If they are even measurable, how do you think these costs compare to the benefits of integrating trees into developed landscape in, 1. the benefits of making more density and housing more desirable (or less obtrusive) to existing urban residents, and. There are about 6100 large exceptional trees left in Seattle according to the 2016 Seattle Tree Canopy Assessment. But often it’s something more sinister. “(The survey) gives a bit of a narrative of what the community is saying, what the community is concerned about in those areas,” said Darren Morgan, SDOT’s urban forestry manager. Based on aerial photographs, meanwhile, 2015 coverage for both Portland and Seattle was 31 percent. Because Seattle has no comparable LiDAR data from prior years, analysts relied on sampled, manual observation of, to assess canopy change over time in 2007, 2010, and 2015, as summarized in the, . Johnson’s forthcoming legislation and the tree canopy study’s conclusion come at a time when mountains of research from around the world are confirming numerous benefits of trees and green spaces. Furthermore, Seattle’s trees are. Increasing urbanization around the globe is leading to concern over the loss of tree canopy within cities, but quantifying urban forest canopy cover can be difficult. It is not done yet, but should be ready within the next couple of months. Nice try. From 2007 to 2015, all that construction helped make room for 76,000 additional residents and 65,000 new jobs—like adding about half of the neighboring city of Bellevue. At least in Portland, the evidence strongly suggests the impacts and costs from the lack of urban trees in proximity to development are born disproportionally the very same renters or low-income home buyers supposably championed in this article. Note that single-family zones, according to this method of measurement, cover 56 percent of the city and provide nearly two thirds of the total canopy cover. Our editors reserve the right to monitor inappropriate comments and personal attacks. So as question of fact, the claim (implied in the statements above) that tree preservation and planting policies are a significant threat to housing affordability simply doesn’t hold up to the facts. Wolf has seen first-hand how public perception of green space has changed over the years. Credit is due to numerous city tree programs and protection regulations, as well as non-profits and dedicated individuals. FYI, the developers for the new KODA condos going up in the CID are planning to tear down cherry blossom trees. over time from 22.5 percent in 2002 to 22.9 percent in 2007. Thanks! “Now people are knowing and seeing that it’s a necessity to have this green around us.”. portland has five vacant units for every homeless person. Seattle’s 2007 Urban Forest Management Plan, notes that “forested parklands have too few conifers, too many deciduous trees, and too many non-native invasive plants when compared with native ecosystems.”, Street trees may not thrive in hostile, space limited locations. The city’s most rigorous analysis to date pegged it at 28 percent in 2016. Study, to restate: from 2007 to 2015, coverage analysis much-need housing options was.... Are more effective than deciduous trees at capturing stormwater runoff of town bad data can take a... Constrain site design options otherwise could avoid tree removal fees could be the financial straw the breaks the ’. 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