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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

Unpaving Paradise: “Residual Spaces” and “Hellstrips”

The will of plants to live in tough urban spaces – and of people to tend them – defies all odds. The space between the curb and the sidewalk is one of the toughest. Author Evelyn J. Hadden calls it the “hellstrip.” Also known as “park strips,” “planting strips,” or sometimes “medians,” these spaces generally... More
Hacking the City

Episode 3: Hacking the City

There are over 60 parklets in San Francisco, and as far as I can tell, everyone has a favorite. Mine is on Judah Street, way out in the Outer Sunset, almost at the beach. The “seating” is entirely made of a beautiful, gnarled tree trunk laid sideways, creating almost undulating spots for sitting. It doesn’t... More

Regulatory Drivers of Green Infrastructure

Why do we have green infrastructure? Is it simply a better way to manage stormwater in our cities – or are do regulatory drivers relating to stormwater discharges encourage its use? What are the impacts of our federal regulatory structure on market demands? All of these questions are related. If you live in a medium-sized... More

Plant This: Three Deciduous Conifers

Biodiversity in the urban forest is incredibly important to resilience and long-term planning (something we’ve written about extensively, here, here, here,  and here, to name just a few). To help designers start thinking about ways to increase diversity, we’re starting a series on some of our favorite species. Many of the species included will be... More

Episode 2: The Mighty Green Street

When I was a little kid growing up in New York City, the Hudson River was NOT a body of water that was considered for recreation. It was to be avoided. By the time I was in high school, though — thanks to the efforts of dedicated people in the city government and non-profit groups... More
Trees provide energy savings even in winter

Cold Climate Benefits from Trees

Philip Potyondy is a Sustainable Forestry Coordinator with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. He has a B.S. and an M.S. in urban forestry, and is an ISA Certified Arborist and a TCIA certified tree care safety professional. His Masters Thesis research on the benefits of trees in cold climates has interested us for years,... More