Tip Sheets

‘Urban forest’ plans gain momentum as experts call for careful planning

Officials in Paris are pushing ahead with plans to cover half the city in an “urban forest,” including an effort to plant 478 trees in a city square which began last week. The following urban treescape experts at Cornell University can discuss the growing global movement to plant more trees in cities, the importance of proper planning and the role of emerging technologies in the process. 

Nina Bassuk

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Nina Bassuk is emeritus professor and director of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell. She says tree planting in cities takes careful planning to account for different types of soil and other elements like rainfall and light.

Bassuk says:

“Cities around the globe are planting more trees to provide ecosystem benefits including urban heat island mitigation, shade and cooling of built surfaces, reduction of flooding and soil erosion, improvement of air quality, providing homes for urban wildlife and creating spaces where people feel comfortable. 

“It is critical to understand which trees will grow well in any site considering soil, rainfall and light. By planting diverse trees species, it is less likely that one disease or insect will cause problems.”

Alexander Kobald

Associate Director of the Design Across Scales Lab, College of Architecture, Art and Planning

Alexander Kobald is the associate director of the Design Across Scales Lab in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell. Kobald worked with colleagues at Cornell Tech to design Tree Folio NYC, a digital twin of New York City’s tree canopy, which shows where trees provide the most shade and where they’re most needed. Kobald has written about the need for planners to incorporate technology in the strategic planting of trees — focusing not only on how many trees, but where they will have the most impact.

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.