Shoppers like to stroll among the urban trees as they browse for purchases. And they’re willing to spend more to do so. Also, properties along tree-lined streets rent for higher prices and with less turnover.
Ultimately, conservation is about empowering citizens to improve the communities where they live and work. The Alliance for Community Trees is the only national organization working to improve the urban forests where 80% of Americans live- our cities, towns, and villages. ACT’s national office assembles coalitions that drive broad environmental success for our more than 180 organizations in 41 states in the pursuit of Clean Air, Green Streets, and Healthy Neighborhoods.
Urban forestry is simply about trees in places where people live.
Trees Add Curb Appeal
The urban forest is an important amenity that provides curb appeal, and attracts shoppers and visitors to downtown business districts. Whether tree-lined streets or pocket parks (the latter being preferable to consumers), trees help businesses attract shoppers to linger and shop for longer, ultimately willing to pay 11% more for goods and services. Consumers indicated that small green spaces provide moments of rest that allow them to regroup and then continue with his/her agenda. Trees provided an escape from the busyness, and led consumers to characterize green communities as more appealing places to shop, and extended so far as to facilitate positive merchant interactions and product quality. Even in when reinvesting in the landscaping at shopping plazas and mini-malls, consumers were willing to pay 8% more for good and services. It pays to invest in landscaping!
Boost Office Rental Rates and Worker Productivity
Based on a comparison of 85 office buildings that comprise 270 individual and unique leases in the Cleveland metropolitan area, social researchers found that individuals prefer buildings with good landscaping and shade provided by trees. In fact, lease holders were able to charge 7% higher rental rates for commercial office properties having a quality landscape. And when psychologists analyzed the findings, they found positioning desk workers to have a view of urban greenery results in greater job productivity and satisfaction and reduced absenteeism.
Business leaders recognize that smart growth provides quality of life, market opportunities, and stable investments, among other benefits. Recently, communities have begun to call into the question land uses that enable efficient ingress and egress of vehicles in retail and commercial districts but gave little attention to multi-modal mobility. Some communities are redeveloping small mall zones based on “complete street” principles, expanding landscape plantings, and redeveloping the character of a business district. Trees enhance economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists. In addition to beautifying small businesses, people linger and shop longer along tree-lined streets. Even just greening commercial parking lots attracts shoppers to spend 11% more for goods and services. In addition, properties (apartments and condominiums) along tree-lined streets rent for higher prices and with less turnover.
There is also an opportunity for small businesses to play a leading role in forging a solution to global climate change and rising energy prices. Yet, as of 2008, only 33% of small businesses had successfully invested in energy efficiency programs for their businesses. Our goal is to help to incentivize small businesses to make a smaller carbon footprint through planting and caring for trees. Although small businesses represent half of the nation’s economy and are responsible for half of the country’s energy consumption, the government spends less than two percent of the Energy Star program’s $50 million annual budget reaching out to help small businesses. Now America’s small business owners have a partner in Washington to help them reduce their energy costs and empower them to be on the front lines fighting global climate change.
At this moment, the nation wants action to secure real community revitalization, action that goes beyond buzzwords such as green and sustainable. Healthy urban forests are key to helping our growing cities and towns to support their small businesses.
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The Alliance for Community Trees is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization (EIN # 68-0319301), and also participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC # 12402). To discuss planned giving opportunities, call us at 301-277-0040.