One of my favourite things about studying at Leeds University was that at lunch time, I could just sit down by one of the many trees and read some books.
Unfortunately, nowadays the number of trees in many cities around the world is going down and down.
The reforestation of cities not only would have a positive impact in absorbing CO2, but as we know trees also help to control soil erosion, reduce landslides, stem surface water and mitigate damage from floods.
Since planting trees is certainly a simple but efficient way to make cities more sustainable and resistant to climate change, Google has launched in 2018 a digital tool to help cities find out where to plant more trees.
The portal Tree Canopy Lab works like Google Maps, except that instead of indicating roads and streets, it allows you to see which areas are richest in urban green and those where it would be better to plant more trees.
The project has the main purpose of decrease urban overheating aggravated by the absence of greenery. Actually, the heat islands characterise many cities during the summer periods. Can we counter the heat islands that characterise your city in the summer by using Tree Canopy Lab? Trees, if planted properly, can cool the air between 2°C and 8°C, reducing the use of air conditioning by 30%.
At the moment Tree Canopy Lab is only active in the city of Los Angeles, but Google has published an online form to fill out, so that you could suggest what cities to expand the service next.
The portal is a very useful tool to encourage many municipalities that do not have adequate economic resources to map the trees in the city and identify where it would be better to expand green areas.
Do you know other digital tools to help make the cities greener?