Environmental Policy

Stewarding street trees for a global urban future: Paris, Taipei, and Washington, D.C.

Laurian, L.; Eisenman, T.S.; Chang, S.E.


Street trees are one of the most prominent types of plants in the urban public realm. They define the street corridor, humanize the scale of cities, calm traffic, separate walkers from vehicles, and filter sunlight all while softening the urban fabric and introducing beauty in the form of flora. Importantly, trees can transform streets from utilitarian transportation corridors into places in which people want to be (Massengale & Dover, 2014). This is especially important as human beings become an increasingly urban species; 2008 marked the first time that more people worldwide lived in urban than rural areas, and by the end of this century some three-quarters of humanity is projected to live in cities (Angel, 2012), leading the contemporary era to be described as the “first urban century ” (Hall & Pfeiffer, 2000, p. 5).