Urban Trees and Urban Planning

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Urban Trees and Urban Planning

Despite convincing scientific support for vegetation as an essential part of urban planning, the trees on the streets of a city are, in most cases, unprotected and abandoned. Urban trees are at the mercy of local administrations with cash shortages and a large number of conflicting interests that can overlook their true value. But as residents mount a greater defense of their mature trees, municipalities and planners will begin to take into account the true value of their urban forest.

Trees are an important part of our communities, but planting, maintaining and protecting trees require an investment of resources, including time and money. Are the benefits that trees provide to our communities greater than their costs? The answer is yes.

The benefits of trees in the city

Visual appeal

Only few things can be compared with the aesthetic impact and seasonal interest that trees offer to the urban environment. They provide great visual appeal to any area and can significantly improve the design of an urban landscape.

Air quality

For every 10% increase in the foliage of urban trees, ozone is reduced by 3-7%. The research has also shown a 60% reduction in the exhaust particles of cars on tree-lined streets.

Health & Wellness

It has also been shown that trees have a positive impact on skin cancer, asthma, hypertension and other stress-related diseases by filtering contaminated air, reducing smog formation, providing shade from solar radiation and providing a Attractive and relaxing environment for recreation.

Cost savings

For every $ 1 spent on trees, a return of $ 2.70 in benefits is received; According to the United States Forest Service.

Rainwater management

For every 5% of the tree cover in a community, stormwater runoff is reduced by 2%.

Property values

Independent studies have shown a steady increase of 5 to 15% in the value of properties on tree-lined streets, which shows that trees increase the values of commercial and residential real estate.

Cooling effects

Trees reduce temperatures by shade and breathable water. This helps reduce air conditioning bills and the use of energy. Trees can also save up to 10% of local energy consumption through their moderation of local climate.

Helping to take care of the trees of our city

Afforestation and its administration is a task of urban planning that must be taken very seriously. The planning and administration of urban forestry is a task that must be taken very seriously. The sowing must be slow, constant, planned and with resources. There must be a long-term commitment to recognize trees as the assets they are.

According to Kenton Rogers of Treeconomics, no more than 10% of the trees in a street should be of the same species, a no less challenge when choosing which species and where they should be planted to get the most out of the city.

VirtualModeler helps the survey, analysis and planning of the urban forest allowing an updated map of the urban forest of the city that can be shared with the different layers of municipal information such as the cadastral plot, the sewage network, etc. Taking a few survey data such as the species, diameter, height and diameter of the tree canopy you can:

Virtual Modeler, planeación urbana

  • Compare the number of species and individuals per species.
  • Determine the plant cover based on the sum of coverage of each tree.
  • Relate the plant cover values with the values of the total area of the public area of the study area, represented by the streets.
  • Analyze the distribution of the species and the number of individuals cultivated according to their location.
  • Calculate the percentage relationship in terms of the number of native and introduced species and compare these values with other authors for other cities in the country.
  • Analyze the density of trees together with the density of the city.

With FieldTeams (part of the VirtualModeler tool suite) the municipality can perform all the preventive maintenance of its green asset, such as planned pruning, new afforestation, replacements, etc. Empowering the work gangs allowing you to carry on your cell or tablet all the information and clinical history of each tree that will intervene. The integration of FieldTeams and VirtualModeler will also allow to know the history of claims, and interventions related to each tree of the city, promoting the analysis of the situation.

Thanks to the claims and tasks module integrated in FieldTeams, you can manage everything related to the maintenance of your urban forest:

  • Register citizens’ claims for fallen trees or branches.
  • Manage requests for pruning made by the frontiers.
  • Carry out a pruning plan for the work teams of the municipality.
  • Carry out an afforestation plan for the city taking into account the distribution of the species.
  • Control the execution of the plans and the tasks carried out by each work team.


Trees offer valuable benefits to cities, from improvements in the health of their inhabitants to purify the air to increases in the value of their properties, therefore it is important to include afforestation of our cities in the list of priorities of our urban planning . Tools such as VirtualModeler can help carry out this process in a precise and efficient way, complying with all the recommendations that the different institutions of the sector recommend in order to take advantage of all the benefits offered by a city with healthy and abundant trees.