Seattle, WA (September 1, 2004)- In a study funded by the USDA Forest Service, the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington surveyed residents of downtown business districts and concluded that people prefer trees in urban shopping areas. The urban forest is an important amenity that provides curb appeal, and attracts visitors and shoppers to downtown business districts. In fact, consumers are even willing to spend more in tree-lined shopping areas.
The most highly preferred category was Pocket Parks. A person has views of surrounding buildings and streets while in these tiny parks, but is removed from the busyness of the street and sidewalk. Small green spaces provide moments of rest that allow the district user to regroup and then continue with his or her visit in the district.
Fourteen cities with downtown business districts were selected throughout the United States. Surveys were sent to residents- the most likely shoppers- of fourteen cities with downtown business districts in the districts, as well as potential visitors in nearby large cities (100,000 population or more). Both groups favored trees in retail streetscapes.
Trees in Small City Business Districts