Tree time back in favour

Who doesn’t like a nice avenue of street trees? Most of us would agree that an avenue of trees makes for a more pleasant urban environment.

But there are some people who have good reason not to like trees of course: plumbers (tree roots get in your pipes), power companies (those branches get stuck in the power lines – give them the chop), builders (roots can damage footings) and the people who lay the footpaths around them.

We found this recent article by Alan Davies in ‘The Urbanist’ as a reminder of the benefits of planting street trees with his suggested “green the streets of Australia” program.

Tree planting was something that seemed to be commonplace a few generations ago, but then fell out of favour. As these trees are now getting to the end of their life expectancy it seems that street tree planting is now back on the agenda.

Our observations in Melbourne are that street tree planting is making a comeback. The wide tree-lined boulevards that were established in Melbourne many years ago such as St Kilda Road, Dandenong Road and Mt Alexander Road rated a mention in Plan Melbourne as something to draw inspiration from in our new transport corridors. The City of ME Melbourne City Council is also focussing on greening the city through a comprehensive tree planting program. 

Ackland Street, St Kilda
Image credit: DLA

Church Street, Middle Brighton
Image credit: DLA
As cities densify, the role of streets to provide amenity, recreation and ecological benefit becomes more important. Streets become de-facto ‘open space’ in urbanised areas where people walk, jog, ride, drive, sit, eat, drink and meet up with friends. Other than our home and workplace, the street is the place where the majority of us spend most of our time, and it is the place where we all come together and experience the city – so it’s an investment that benefits everyone in some way (even the plumbers and electricity providers amongst us), which can’t be a bad thing can it?


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