Cooling down a city

Two articles today which might be of interest to the board. Here is one of them: how cities can mitigate the heat island effect, which makes them 10 degrees or more warmer than surrounding areas. In today’s era of record heat anyway this is an issue which may be even more important, as it impacts public health, energy use, and construction techniques.

Article gifted:


Shade trees are a good investment. They also sequester carbon while they provide cooling shade.

There are also recent reports of reflective surfaces that reflect rather than absorb heat.

All it takes is money. Who will pay for this improvement? Taxpayers?

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That is being done here (Twin Cities, MN). Areas with low shade cover are targeted to get young trees. They get planted and then need care for a number of years until the root system can support the tree. It costs millions per year, but worthwhile (IMO).


The National Arbor Association supplies tree starts very inexpensively. Millions implies you pay someone to take care of them.

How about state funded nurseries that provide free tree starts to those who want them. And are willing to care for them and keep them watered.

Enough of lets let the government do it. How about involved citizens who care stepping forward?

The trees are purchased (no idea from where/who/price), but they are specific species suitable for this environment. Boulevard/street trees are maintained by the city and the resident(s) where the tree is planted. It adds to property value over time as it gets larger.

Need to be careful though. Friend bought and planted a young tree in his front yard in 1980. 40 years later, a really decent sized tree, good shade. Strong wind/rain storm blew through and uprooted the tree. Missed the house when it fell. Missed most cars on the street too. He decided to not replant a tree in that location.

Yep, pros are worth paying for. But millions seems like a lot. Is it worth it? How about a $100K/yr expert and a few helpers?

It isnt the cost of trees or planting them. It is ongoing work to make sure they are watered, prepped for winter, and so on. Plus, some will die–so need to have more trees to replace those. Then repeat in a different area. Had a magnificent elm canopy–until Dutch elm killed most of them. There is ONE known elm that has not been infected, so the objective is to replicate that tree as fast as possible.

TLC from the land owner is a far better solution. And much less expensive.

If owner is not into TLC, why bother? Plant them elsewhere!!

If the owner is able to do it, which many can’t–or absentee landlords. Which is why the city takes care of the young trees until they are reasonably able to no longer need it. Plus, because they are planted next to the street, it makes sense for the city to maintain them.