Livable Communities and Urban Forests - CivicWell

Livable Communities and Urban Forests

Community Design

Fact Sheet

The trees in our parks, yards, public spaces and streetscapes — our “urban forests” — play a vital role in the health and economic vitality of our communities. Trees affect the quality of the air and water where we live, the cost of heating and cooling our homes and businesses, property values, and ultimately, the safety and desirability of our neighborhoods and downtowns.


Unfortunately, in recent years urban trees have fallen victim to “downsizing” in the face of shrinking municipal budgets. Aging trees are removed but not replaced, while new plantings are restricted to small trees to save on maintenance costs. While this strategy may produce some short-term savings, it fails to take into account the broader and long-term benefits that residents, businesses and community visitors seek – clean air, clean water, and safe and attractive places.

The many benefits of urban trees and forest cover are highlighted in this fact sheet prepared by CivicWell (formerly known as the Local Government Commission). This fact sheet will help local officials, their staff and other community leaders understand and communicate the value of urban trees.

“Livable Communities and Urban Forests” Fact sheet:
English Version (PDF, 670 KB) | Spanish Version (PDF, 944 KB)

This information is available in both English and Spanish. To receive hard copies, please call CivicWell at 916-448-1198.

Development of this fact sheet was supported by the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program on the recommendation of the National Urban and Community Advisory Council.