Sunset Solutions – Tree Planting, Care & Retention

Sunset Solutions – Tree Planting, Care & Retention

School:

UBC

Department:

Urban Forestry

Course:

UFOR 401

Instructors:

  • Stephen Sheppard

City of Vancouver:

  • Krista Voth
  • Erin Embley
  • Leila Todd

Student Team:

  • Shenae Borschneck
  • Taelynn Lam
  • DJ Neustaeter
  • Audrey Steele
  • Norton Zhang

Strategy:

  • VanPlay

City goal area:

  • Adapt to a Changing Climate

Term:

Spring 2020

Summary

Trees provide a multitude of benefits to the urban environment and those who call it home. In the coming decades, the benefits provided by trees will become increasingly important in helping Vancouver to adapt to climate change. Currently, neighbourhoods in Vancouver do not have equal access to the benefits of trees. For example, the neighbourhood of Sunset has one of the lowest percentages of canopy cover (9%); whereas, Dunbar Southlands has one of the highest (28%) (City of Vancouver, 2018). This project aims to reduce this inequity by helping low canopy neighbourhoods to increase their canopy cover.

For the Sunset neighbourhood, we recommend that all trees (public and private) be regulated and managed as a utility as they are a public asset. To support this, our group developed policies, guidelines, and a public engagement strategy. For example, the creation of an environmental utility tax would encourage homeowners to reduce impervious surfaces and to plant, manage and retain trees. Additionally, new street designs and lot typologies may help to provide increased planting space for trees. Lastly, a well-rounded engagement strategy would help to encourage and support the community in planting and maintaining trees.

Our recommendations are tailored to the Sunset neighbourhood but may be adapted to other residential areas in Vancouver. Sunset was selected as the demographics, topography and low canopy cover make the neighbourhood especially vulnerable to climate change. Our project focused on private property as approximately half of the opportunity for tree planting in Vancouver lies on private land. 

Through this project, we have recognized the importance of working directly with communities and that increasing tree canopy cover is a long-term process that requires a range of approaches. Our vision is to support, empower and inspire the people of Sunset to foster sustainable greenspaces on private property.