Every year, between 3 and 4 million people around the world die as a result of air pollution and its lifelong impacts on human health, from asthma to cardiac disease to strokes. Each summer, thousands of unnecessary deaths result from heat waves in urban areas. Studies have shown that trees are a cost-effective solution for both of these challenges.Yet investment in planting new trees—or even caring for those that exist—is perpetually underfunded. Despite the overwhelming evidence cities are, on average, spending less on trees than in prior decades.And too often, the presence or absence of urban nature—and its myriad benefits —is tied to a neighborhood’s income level, resulting in dramatic health inequities. In some American cities, life expectancies in different neighborhoods, located just a few miles apart, can differ by as much as a decade. Not all of this health disparity is connected to the tree cover, but researchers are increasingly finding that neighborhoods with fewer trees have worse health outcomes, so inequality in access to urban nature makes worse health inequities.The white paper estimated that spending just US$8 per person per year, on average, in an American city could meet the funding gap and stop the loss of urban trees and all their potential benefits.The key is to connect public health outcomes to urban trees. Communication and coordination between a city’s parks, forestry and public health departments is rare. Breaking down these silos can reveal new sources of funding for tree planting and maintenance.
The 2020s are predicted to be a decade of transformation for urban mobility. There are at least six forces that are expected to disrupt the urban mobility landscape. From self-driving vehicles and the sharing economy, through to vehicle electrification, mobile computing, the...Read more
Transportation planners are often looking for efficiency in transportation but this article in Science Advances has also identified that resilience is an important city design feature. Planning for when disruptions occur can help to avoid city gridlock.Read more
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
To increase levels of biking while improving safety, cities around the world have started building barrier-protected bicycle-exclusive cycle tracks between the sidewalk and the street. With cycle tracks, the unanswered urban planning issues include whether and where to plant street trees and, if planted, whether the trees in that location provide associated benefits.
Shaping urbanization for children, a handbook on child-responsive urban planning, presents concepts, evidence and technical strategies to bring children to the foreground of urban planning. By focusing on children, this publication provides guidance on the central role that urban planning should play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
As cities grapple with the impacts of heatwaves, exacerbated by the urban heat island effect and progressively amplified by climate change impacts, green spaces can cool urban areas, as well as providing many other functions and benefits to city dwellers’ health and wellbeing, and habitat for urban biodiversity.
The provision of publicly accessible parks and green spaces is a policy issue at multiple levels of central and local government, devolved national administrations and local authorities. Parks and green spaces are typically free at the point of access and this access is usually unregulated; spaces where people can move, breathe, play and run.