Atlanta: The City in the Saplings?
By Teri Nye, Park Designer at Park Pride (and person who draws)
The City of Atlanta is in the process of rewriting its tree ordinance—this is the set of rules that protects trees on public and private land throughout the city. The task isn’t quick or easy, but it’s a necessity as the city grows in population and tension increases between new development and the need to preserve trees and urban greenspaces.
One of the goals of the Atlanta Canopy Alliance* is to educate the public about the tree ordinance revision and to make it easier for the public to engage in this process. The Alliance focuses on a three-point platform to meet the City of Atlanta’s stated goal of 50% tree canopy coverage within city limits:
- Buy forested land,
- Plant more trees, and
- Protect the existing tree canopy.
Protecting our existing tree canopy is a particular passion of mine. Why? Besides being beautiful, trees contribute to our overall quality of life, providing cool shade, lowering utility bills, and increasing property values. But the benefits of trees and the reasons we should protect them go beyond this short list.
I created the following short video to shed light on the vital work that trees do in keeping Atlanta livable in the face of hotter temperatures, more severe storms, and greater extremes between drought and flooding. Watch the video and decide if you’d rather live in the “City in the Forest” or the “City in the Saplings.”
If you’d rather live in the “City in the Forest,” it’s up to you to get involved in the tree ordinance revision process and make your voice heard by your local City Council representative. For additional details, visit the Trees Atlanta website, see the City of Atlanta’s Urban Ecology Framework, and attend the tree ordinance rewrite work session with City Council on Thursday, August 22nd. Then contact your council representative and let them know that you support a tree ordinance rewrite that adheres to the Atlanta Canopy Alliance’s three-prong approach, ensuring that Atlanta can maintain its lush and diverse canopy of trees for generations to come!
*The Atlanta Canopy Alliance is composed of member organizations Trees Atlanta, The Conservation Fund, the Georgia Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Park Pride, The Trust for Public Land, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and the Atlanta Audubon Society.