A project by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Senseable City Lab – dubbed Treepedia – is analyzing the tree canopy coverage of cities worldwide. Seventeen cities have been analyzed to date – including Sacramento.
In the wake of the recent controversy about the rebranding of the “Welcome to Sacramento” signage on the water tower off of Interstate 5, south of the Pocket area (replacing “City of Trees” with “Farm-to-Fork Capital”), I found the Treepedia study most interesting.
See Related Post: Sacramento – City of Trees.
In order to measure the tree canopy cover in cities, Treepedia developed the Green View Index (GVI) using Google Street View (GSV) panoramas. By using GSV instead of satellite imagery Treepedia images represent human perceptions of the environment from the street level. The GVI is on a scale of 0-100 showing the percentage of canopy coverage of a particular location. Note: Street level visualization does not include trees within parks.
The goal of the Treepedia study is to provide a means to evaluate and compare the tree canopy cover of cities worldwide in order to promote understanding of the importance of urban tree canopy cover.
As to the importance of urban tree canopy cover, the Treepedia website states (in part) “Increasing a city’s tree canopy contributes to lowering urban temperatures by blocking shortwave radiation and increasing water evaporation. Creating more comfortable microclimates, trees also mitigate air pollution caused by everyday urban activities. Their absorptive root systems also help avoid floods during severe rains and storm surges.”
Sacramento’s ranking will very likely change as more cities are added to the study but at this moment in time Sacramento ranks #4 with a GVI of 23.6%.
The cities studied to date, and their GVI Rank are:
- 20.6% – Amsterdam
- 18.2% – Boston
- 21.5% – Frankfurt
- 21.4% – Geneva
- 12.7% – London
- 15.2% – Los Angeles
- 19.4% – Miami
- 13.5% – New York
- 08.8% – Paris
- 23.6% – Sacramento
- 20.0% – Seattle
- 29.3% – Singapore
- 25.9% – Sydney
- 17.5% – Tel Aviv
- 19.5% – Toronto
- 16.2% – Turin
- 25.9% – Vancouver
It is not my intent to express an opinion one way or another about the recent water tower debate – what is done is done. However, my take-a-way from the Treepedia study is that Sacramento is deserving of the title City of Trees. What do you think?
(UPDATED 4/15/2017) A petition (https://www.change.org/p/bring-back-our-city-of-trees) is being circulated that would bring back Sacramento’s “City of Trees” title on the water tower. The petition will be submitted to the Vice Mayor of Sacramento and the Executive Director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation (STF). The Sacramento Tree Foundation Executive Director has stated the STF will fundraise for the additional painting costs if the petition is accepted.
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