in the
What is
Tree in the city

What is your value?

Remember the time in primary school, when you learnt about how trees help our environment? In the presence of sunlight, it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. It removes pollutants and purifies the air that we breathe in. It reduces flooding by absorbing water runoff through its root system.

How about the time you decided to enjoy your lunch in the nearby park? Perhaps it was a case of biophilia that stole you away from the office towers. Or maybe the tree canopy provided the much-needed refuge from the sun that was beating down on the back of your neck. Perhaps you were curious to see where the flock of white cockatoos were nesting amid the urban jungle.

Either way, there’s no denying that trees are valuable assets to our cities. They beautify our surroundings, provide shade to dwellers and introduce fauna back into an urban ecosystem. 

To calculate the monetary value of a tree, Dr Yau created the Amenity Value Formula. This formula is expressed as

Value of Tree (V) =
Basic Value x Species x Aesthetics x Locality x Condition

This formula considers five factors:

  • The size of the tree
  • Its longevity and growth rate
  • The aesthetic contribution to its vicinity
  • Its location
  • The current condition

Using the Amenity Value Formula, trees are worth $700 million to the City of Melbourne. That’s an average value of $10,000 per tree!

Not only do trees contribute to the economic value of our cities, but they also improve our microclimatic conditions. Tree canopy intercepts solar radiation and in doing so, helps to reduce the air temperature in our cities. This cooling effect creates a difference in air pressure from its surrounding environment, which then generates air movement through our cities.

Essentially, they play a vital role in reducing the urban heat island effect and providing urban dwellers with a comfortable living environment.

With the World Health Organisation predicting that 70% of the world’s population to be living in towns and cities by 2050, it seems cogent that our cities pay greater attention to the benefits a tree has for our urban environment. But surely there’s an ongoing cost to maintain the trees? Surprisingly, the return of investments is far greater than the cost it takes to maintain them.

A study in 2005 by Mcpherson, a research forester from the University of California, calculated that for each dollar spent maintaining a tree, there was annual return ranging from $1.37 to $3.09. This study was conducted in five cities across America, and the benefits were calculated mostly through city cost savings. These include reducing the cost of energy used to heat and cool buildings, to remove air pollutants such as NO2 and SO2 in the city and even the management and maintenance of stormwater systems.

It’s undeniable that trees are working hard around the clock to benefit our cities environmentally and economically. So, if you are living in Melbourne, why not show your appreciation by emailing one of the trees in the city?

  • Transformed thinking into action

Here at Beulah, our projects are driven by investigating thinking and the pursuit for design and research innovation. Through these insights, we create transformational spaces and experience for present and future generations.

We transform this thinking into action for Paragon.


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