According to researchers and scientists, European cities will need more trees and more green spaces to project themselves into a more comfortable and sustainable future and to combat the effects of the climate crisis and global warming.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said trees in cities fight climate change both directly, by storing carbon, and indirectly, by cooling urban areas, reducing energy demand. They also improve air quality, reduced heat stress, fewer urban heat islands, caused by streets and buildings that absorb and retain heat, improved mental and physical health.
As reported by the Guardian, Christophe Najdovski, deputy mayor for revegetation and green spaces at the Paris city council, said: "We know that with enough trees we can lower the city's summer temperature by up to 8°C.
They are basically air natural conditioning. But planting them is not always easy. The biggest problem is the underground infrastructure. The subway, gas pipes, electric and telephone cables, parking lots." According to Ana Luisa Soares, landscape architect at the University of Lisbon, a new tree can cost the city administration up to $2,000: "You have to buy the tree.
You have to plant it, you have to water it, especially in the first five years, when it's most vulnerable. Life is hard for a tree in a city: compacted soil, polluted air. You have to maintain it, prune it, treat it for disease.
When you are talking about tens of thousands of trees, it is a huge investment. We need trees. They are important to everyone us, residents and visitors. They give us more shade, better air quality, lower temperatures, natural beauty – basically, more trees mean happier people.
We know that. And they will be even more viable in the future." Soares adapted a US software program, iTrees, and fed it data from Lisbon's 41,000-odd trees. She found that while the trees cost about $1.9 million a year, the services they provide are worth $8.4 million. She said, "So for every dollar a city invests in its trees, residents get about $4.50 in benefits."