What is the optimal position of trees that maximizes walking on urban sidewalks?
Research & Innovation | July 7, 2023
Trees can improve the walkability of urban outdoor spaces. Hence, studies have been conducted to examine and elucidate the relationship between tree distribution and walking frequency. This study addresses the lack of tool that can exploit these relationships and optimize tree distribution to maximize walking. A modeling and simulation framework to optimize the distribution of urban trees to maximize walking has been developed. The framework features a model that simulates “temperature” considering the locations of trees. Environmental conditions are sensed by “humans” who experience various levels of comfort; these affects their decisions to walk or not. Tree distribution is iterated in order to find the tree distribution that generates maximum walking frequency. Based on the simulations, spacing between trees, direction of neighboring buildings, and shadowing of buildings affect walking frequency. Applying the framework in an urban area in the Philippines reveals that the optimal planting strategy is to plant trees at a 14 m spacing on all sidewalks except those which have buildings to the south and only on locations with minimal building shadows. The proposed framework can be a powerful tool for urban tree planting projects.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2210670722004206