Whenever I go home to Richmond, Virginia, I remember one big advantage that that city has over Baltimore — lots more trees.
Trees are pretty and all, but do they really need to be a priority for a city that’s struggling with so many other issues, from closing recreation centers to boarded up houses? Well, perhaps, according to Geoffrey Donovan, an economist who works with the U.S. Forest Service. His study of property values and nearby greenery in Portland found that a tree in front of a house there rose its sale price by more than $7,000; another study found that “walkability, in the form of nearby businesses, raises a Portland home’s value by about $3,500 in a treeless neighborhood, but more than $22,000 in a tree-lined one.”
They also keep the air clean, reduce the urban heat effect, keep neighborhoods safe, and may even make people smarter. Those are some of the reasons why Baltimore vowed to double its existing tree canopy by 2036. Want to help out — or perhaps get a tree of your own? Parks and People gives Neighborhood Greening Grants, many of which are used to plant street trees. And the mayor’s TreeBaltimore program offers free trees each fall and spring… including this Saturday. So go ahead, raise your property value — and make the city a better place to be.