chapter  2
24 Pages

Several million trees: how planting trees is changing our civic landscape

Since the earliest human settlements, trees have imbued the built environment with nature’s endurance, inspiring hope and refl ection. Trees and vegetation have been planted alongside huts and hillsides; inside the walls of forts; and alongside military barricades in order to signify continuity and strength (Helphand 2006). Trees have been used as living fences to demarcate and protect life and property in rural and peri-urban areas for centuries and they are an essential part of home gardens and sacred community groves across the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Gliessman 1990). In Europe, thousands of trees were planted along the newly constructed grand avenues of Paris and other cities. They were used to give defi nition and shape to streets, parks, and squares, but also to represent the resolution and continuity of the emperors, kings, and queens who constructed the transition from the medieval to the modern city beginning in the seventeenth century (Harvey 2005).