margarida-louro-nTSghtWYQF0-unsplash.jpg

Trees in the City

Michael Jus

Michael Jus

New Shadowmap update: Find public trees in the city

With our latest updates, 3D tree models are now available in several cities.

Urban trees and summer heat

Can you imagine a city without trees in summer? Just scorching hot concrete, maybe some dry grass and shrubs in between? Visiting parks and taking a break on a bench wouldn’t be quite as relaxing.

Trees provide the best kind of shade, and they improve the microclimate in cities overall by holding and transpiring some water even in the greatest heat and cooling the air around them. Additionally, every piece of concrete that is blocked from absorbing sunlight by a tree helps to alleviate city heat.

Generally speaking, the shade of trees provides several advantages over artificial sunshade and you’ll know what we are talking about when you compare sitting under a parasol to sitting under a lush tree on a hot summer day. Also, trees can block UV light, in case you already took in enough vitamin D for the day.

Public trees on Shadowmap

Luckily many cities register most of their trees in public areas (this is a special topic on its own: in Vienna, for example, some parks’ trees are owned by the state and therefore not reflected in the city’s database which also makes them unavailable for us.), which gave us the opportunity to add this tree data to our app and since our latest updates you can see them in Shadowmap.

For the 3D tree models we utilize as much data as we can get: In Madrid and Vienna, we consider the stem height, tree height, stem diameter and crown diameter. In Paris, on the other hand, we don’t have data for the crown diameter which is why we apply a fixed ratio to the crown diameter based on the tree’s height. What we currently don’t use is the species of the tree but we consider adding custom 3D models depending on the species as well. This also goes towards conifers vs. broadleaf trees where the latter lose their leaves during winter, thus casting less shadow than their broadleaf-counterparts.

So far tree data on Shadowmap is online for Vienna, Paris and Madrid.

Visiting one of these cities on a hot summer day? Grab some ice cream and cool down from your city tour in the nearest park under a tree. Don’t forget to bring your hammock!

People chilling in an alley
Trees keep cities cool during heat weaves.

More health benefits of urban trees

But trees and green areas are not just great against summer heat, they also help us calm our minds and reduce stress, even improving cognition and attention. Moreover, trees improve our health by mitigating air pollution. As if that wasn’t enough already, studies suggest that urban trees can enhance immune function and promote social well-being, as well as physical activity.

With some variance between tree species and some other factors, it’s safe to say that trees greatly improve the quality of living in cities. So express your gratitude and hug a tree today!

Trees and Real Estate

In case you’re looking for a new home in Vienna, Paris or Madrid, you can already remotely check for public trees around the estate. A few trees can be an important feelgood factor for your home by providing some shade and privacy, improving air quality, cooling it down and even reducing noise a bit. Some other factors have been mentioned before already.

On the other hand trees can be undesirable, when they block out too much sunlight, in which case you would want to avoid them in your inspection. The same issues apply to trees on private property of course, for which there is no public data available. Additionally you might want to think about maintenance related to trees on private land.

Feel free to use Shadowmap before your next viewing to check out lighting conditions and public trees for your potential new home, fully remotely.

Sources: