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An Introduction to Placemaking

Public space is more than just a pleasant amenity in our towns and cities, it is an important connection between our homes, businesses, institutions, and the rest of the world. It’s where we bump into each other and wave hello. It’s also where nearly half of violent crimes happen (Bureau of Justice Statistics), where people... More

Episode 7: People Habitat

I’ve been a fan of Kaid Benfield’s writing for years, so I was incredibly excited when he agreed to be interviewed on Remarkable Objects. I was first introduced to his work as a reader of “Switchboard,” the blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council. His posts stood out to me because of their conversational tone,... More

Key Concepts for Tree-Friendly Design

As a consulting arborist, I am often called upon to diagnose and help “sick” trees in a landscape. The primary cause of health problems for many of the trees I look at are related to impacts from a landscape renovation or home remodel. Despite best intentions, many bad things can happen to trees during development... More

The Restorative Power of Nature

Our surroundings have the power to shape our emotions, health, and well-being. We can feel this in our bodies – our tensions heighten while driving in city traffic, and relax while walking in a park – and research supports it, too. The lights, sounds, and colors of the environment in which we live and work... More
Undiscovered Country

Episode 6: Undiscovered Country

Soil is not something I spent a lot of time thinking about before starting to work for DeepRoot. But in that time, I’ve come to see and appreciate soil as an almost-magical substance. Soil is foundational to so many things: the biological processes of billions of organisms, carbon sequestration, plant life, and the built environment... More

Trees: A Shared Good with Unequal Access

All across the globe, it has been getting ever hotter with each passing year. With this heat come series health risks, including severe heat exhaustion and poor air quality, which disproportionately impact children, those who are ill, and the elderly. Heat-related impacts also disproportionately impact poor and minority communities, which tend to have less access... More

Episode 5: Is tree planting equitable?

Hey there! “Environmental justice” was a relatively new term for me when I interviewed today’s guest, Shannon Lea Watkins. Shannon is a post-doctoral fellow who studies (in, uh, layman’s terms) how trees influence people and how people influence trees, and she recently published a study that asked an uncomfortable but important question: Is tree planting... More

(Some) Nurseries Talk Back about Tree Root Quality

This summer we surveyed arborists and designers about the issues they encountered buying trees free from uncorrectable root defects. We published the results of that survey on this blog. To review: nursery-grown trees, especially those in containers, can have root defects such as girdling, circling and diving roots which contribute to tree health problems or... More

How Climate Benefits from Trees Scale with Cities

Trees influence meteorological and climatic effects at all scales of a city, from pocket parks to entire neighborhoods. However, while research has been done on the effect of trees canopies on urban environments in general, we are only now beginning to understand how urban canopies affect climate at all scales of the city – from... More

Episode 4: Creativity and Constraints

(We’re bringing you this week’s episode of Remarkable Objects a little early, since Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. We’ll resume a normal publishing schedule next week.) After a decade of working in urban forestry (and editing this blog), I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the biggest challenges trees in cities face. There... More