Street trees, city parks, green roofs and gardens keep sweltering summer temperatures down, help to prevent flash flooding, reduce air and noise pollution, support native ecosystems, and ultimately make our cities more enjoyable – and healthy – places to live and work.
So it’s little wonder that projects like this, that catalogue and track a city’s leafy assets, are blossoming.
One of the largest of these projects is Treepedia, launched this year. Developed at MIT’s Senseable City Lab in collaboration with the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Cities and Global Shapers community, Treepedia makes use of the vast Google Street View database to map and measure the visible greenery in cities across the world.
The result is a collection of interactive maps of 16 cities – and counting – and an overall greenness rating for each, dubbed the green view index.
At the top of the green league is Singapore, with a green view index of 29.3%. Sydney and Vancouver come in equal second with scores of 25.9%, and falling at the opposite end of the spectrum – 8.8% – is Paris. But packing in a whopping 21,000 people for every square kilometre – more than 50 times that of Sydney – it is also the most densely populated of the cities.