Manchester, UK, plans to become a ‘City of Trees’ as part of a new council scheme.
The project hopes to change the face of the highly populated city and its surrounding areas.
Based on studies surrounding the benefits of green areas and added foliage, the team behind City of Trees believe that there are several reasons why this will only bring about good things. Trees have a proven psychological benefit, reducing stress and producing cleaner air. They also protect against flooding and, from a commercial perspective, increase the amount of time that people will spend in a commercial or retail area.
Speaking with BBC News, City of Trees director Tony Hothersall outlined the project’s objectives:
“One is to plant three million trees, ie. a tree for every man woman and child, over the next 25 years,” he said.
Next, we are very much focused on bringing existing woodland into management because there is no point in planting new woodland if you can’t manage what you’ve got already.
Finally, we want to engage people a lot more in their natural environment; in planting trees; in managing areas; in understanding more about the benefits that trees and woodlands bring to our society.”
He added that they wanted to increase the number of trees in the city’s parks and green areas as well.
“We are working with partners and landowners to identify parcels of land for tree planting.
It could be extending existing woodland and building up the biodiversity. It could be linking woodlands which also is very important for biodiversity. It could also be [planting] totally new areas of woodland.
It is really about planting trees wherever it’s appropriate to put trees,” he explained, “what is really important is it’s about the right tree in the right place.”
Mr Hothersall cites the social benefits of such schemes, adding that they help in bringing communities together, allowing them to take pride in their immediate environment.
“There has been some really good work done showing that people actually spend more in retail areas and linger longer in retail areas where there are trees.
We’ve seen that as quite a good example in terms of a sort of cafe culture with one of my projects in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. The introduction of trees and general improvement of the environment there have actually led to a cafe culture developing from what was one of the, I suppose, harder environments in central Manchester.”