There are many facets to community development. Community development can include housing, healthcare, education, economics and much more. Incorporating trees into community development provides communities with a long-term asset to build upon for the future.
Healthy trees in our communities improve our environment. In addition to the visual impact of trees, tree canopies and root systems provide a natural filter to our water supply and reduce storm water runoff, flooding and erosion.*
Shaded neighborhoods and well-landscaped yards have a positive economic influence on real estate values, timelines of house sales and neighborhood desirability. Studies report that landscaping speeds the sale of a home by four to six weeks.*
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Active living is one solution to turn back this trend. Tree lawns contribute to perceptions of more walkable streets, which can promote more physical activity in children and youth.***
Engaging youth in the community development process creates an opportunity to discuss sustainable community development. Sustainable community development goes beyond green measures, addressing the full range of a community’s needs such as housing, health care, education and public safety. It expands our definition of sustainability to include physical and social environments as well as the natural environment.**** How we teach our youth to interact with the environment will make a difference.
*Center for Urban Forest Research, Pacific Southwest Research Station, US Forest Service, Davis, CA
**Center for Urban Horticulture, Fact Sheet #5, University of Washington