Bristol Street Trees

In urban areas trees are not just of value in environmental terms, but also benefit society socially and economically:

Economic Benefits

• Properties in tree-lined streets benefit by an increase in value up to 18% (CABE).

• People linger longer in tree-lined shopping streets and end up spending more!

• Traffic speeds are reduced, resulting in fewer accidents, and improved fuel efficiency.

• Contribute to reduced healthcare costs - research commenced but not completed by NUFU.

Environmental Benefits

• Increased biodiversity - a mature oak can support up to 500 species.

• Help to clean the air and mitigate harmful carbon emissions.

• Reduced frequency of flash flooding by slowing down rainfall and taking up ground water.

• The leaves remove particulates and cool down rainwater run-off: hot urban surface water run-off entering rivers at speed harms the ecology.

• Shade from trees reduces the urban heat island effect - particularly important given climate change predictions for the next 30 years.

• Reduced wind speeds.

Social Benefits

• Trees provide focal points for people to meet or sit under.

• People seem to behave better in cooler environments.

• Walking or driving through an avenue of trees can help reduce stress levels (Ulrich).

• Neighbourhoods with tall canopy trees have fewer reported incidents of violent crime and aggressive behaviour (Kuo and Sullivan).

• Increased awareness of seasonal variation.

• Cooling: the death rate increases as soon as the temperature rises above 21 C - 16,000 people died in Paris in the European heat-wave of 2003.

To quote from New York City guidelines:

Environmental Benefits

Street trees help reduce the urban heat island effect by providing cool shade over paved roadways. Trees and vegetation filter the air and reduce air pollutants such as particulates and carbon dioxide. Trees and sidewalk planting strips capture storm water, thus reducing storm water runoff, which in turn reduces strain on city sewer infrastructure. 

Aesthetic Benefits

Street trees and planting strips enhance the overall appearance of developments and neighborhoods.  Residents and pedestrians enjoy shaded buildings and sidewalks.  Street trees and planting strips improve the character and scale of neighborhood streetscapes, and soften otherwise continuous pavement in the public right-of-way.

Safety Benefits

Street trees buffer pedestrians from vehicular traffic, and reduce glare by shading roadways.

There is a good pdf of

“22 Benefits of Urban Street Trees” here.