Planting trees for urban climate resilience
Trees help urban communities cope with climate change, their green canopy affording a respite from heat while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Cool Streets initiative brings trees to sun-exposed city streets in greater Sydney and Melbourne. Microsoft and the Blacktown City Council partnered with Cool Streets to plant trees in Hebersham, with Microsoft donating the trees and a team of volunteers to plant them. In total, the team planted 211 new street trees throughout the Hebersham community, including 32 large (25-liter) trees. The Cool Streets Hebersham project is part of a global portfolio of urban forestry projects Microsoft is supporting in partnership with global reforestation nonprofit One Tree Planted.
Empowering neighbors to design a cooling landscape
The Cool Streets Initiative is designed to bring climate resilience to sun-exposed urban areas. According to an article in Communications Earth & Environment, urban areas around the world are warming 29% faster than rural areas. Trees are a simple resource not only for cooling neighborhoods, but also for absorbing carbon dioxide emissions.
Cool Streets invites community members to give input on the tree planting design. Residents weigh factors such as the appearance, maintenance, environmental impact, and financial benefit of different types and layouts of trees. “Cool Streets allows local communities to collaborate on the design of street trees to provide shade, maximise cooling, and reduce urban heat, as well as reduce the need for air conditioning,” explains Daniel Leonard, Arboriculture Coordinator for Blacktown City Council.
Coming together as a community for a greener Hebersham
For the Hebersham tree planting project, Blacktown City Council and a team of local citizens and Microsoft employees planted 211 trees along the streets around Heber Park at Hebersham, creating much-needed canopy cover for a suburb that is struggling with urban heat and heat vulnerability. A focus of the planting was to provide shade over a popular dog park located within Heber Park.
The tree planting volunteers teamed up to focus on different areas and created different planting designs. A spirit of healthy competition for “Best Planting Effort” reigned at the event. The winning team, named “Treedem with Love,” took the honors with 48 shade trees planted in an interesting design … plus a tree-related joke. (“What do trees drink? Not water—root beer.”)
Jokes aside, the Cool Streets initiative brings communities together to improve the liveability of public spaces while making a positive impact on the environment. Microsoft is proud to partner with this effort alongside Blacktown City Council and Cool Streets. In addition, Microsoft tree planting volunteer hours are company matched, with donations going to our global reforestation partner One Tree Planted.
“We are pleased to partner with Microsoft to deliver Cool Streets at Hebersham Park. Thank you, Microsoft, for providing the trees and the team of volunteers to plant them on the day.”—Daniel Leonard, Arboriculture Coordinator, Blacktown City Council
Cool Streets allows local communities to collaborate on the design of street trees to provide shade, maximise cooling, and reduce urban heat, as well as reduce the need for air conditioning. More information about Cool Streets can be found at www.coolstreets.com.au