Cities turn a new leaf to count the ROI of trees
Pittsburgh takes its regional sustainability issues very seriously, as our column described last year. Sustainable Pittsburgh has been collaborating with a range of regional organizations over the last 18 years in an effort to raise awareness and engage regional stakeholders. The regional organization considers natural spaces, forests and the urban canopy integral assets to Pittsburgh’s overall quality of life and thus economic development.
“Few investments naturally deliver on so many co-benefits as maintaining urban trees,” said Court Gould, executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. “Our actuarial friends have a field day quantifying the natural capital trees provide silently day in and out.
“While a seemingly crude gesture in the face of the natural grandeur, the value of urban tree cover readily can be monetized in returns on CO2 sequestration, heat island mitigation, reducing rainwater runoff, improving air and water quality, not to mention all the remarkable effects trees have on reducing crime, improving human health and raising property values. A plant-it-first urban strategy is the smart money to grow on.”