Policy Solution

Street trees

Mandate

Overview:

Summary: Trees provide cooling through evapotranspiration and shading that decreases temperatures along walkways. Increasing vegetation provides numerous co-benefits like reducing pollution; improving the public realm; and decreasing energy costs. A street tree requirement for new developments or rehabilitations will require private property owners, developers, and businesses to plant trees or provide long-term maintenance for trees in public areas adjacent to their site or property.

Implementation: Adopt requirements for tree plantings during construction of new or existing developments. This can include requirements for street tree plantings or on-site tree planting.

Considerations for Use: These requirements are most effective when imposed on new developments. Landscaping requirements may not be appropriate in areas with existing dense canopies, poor soil conditions, or limited precipitation. These stakeholders may play a critical role in providing long-term care and maintenance if the tree is in public right-of-way in front of their property

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Introducing new or updated zoning/codesIncludes codes, zoning requirements or by-laws pertaining to urban planning and building construction activity.
  • Intervention Type:
    Green/natural Infrastructure
  • Sectors:
    Parks, Public Works,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Residents; Heat-vulnerable communities
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Number of trees planted

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    Site
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    High

    Benefits:

  • Cost-Benefit:
    Low
  • Public Good:
    High
  • GHG Reduction:
    Medium
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Provide flood protection; Improve stormwater management; Preserve biodiversity; Reduce air and water pollution; Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Improve human health; Increase property values; Build social cohesion; Improve the public realm