Tampa is No. 1 when it comes to tree canopy cover, says MIT study

The 'Treepedia' study looked at 27 international cities.

click to enlarge Tampa is No. 1 when it comes to tree canopy cover, says MIT study
Photo via Adobe Images

It’s official: Tampa is shady. Well, shadier than a lot of other cities in the world, at least.

That’s according to the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which studied 27 cities including Singapore, Oslo, Vancouver and Sydney and found that Tampa is more than one-third given over to tree cover.

Tampa got a 36.1% on Treeedia’s “Green View Index,” while other U.S. cities like Miami (19.4%) and Los Angeles (15.2%) came in well below Tampa town.

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MIT, however, points out that its Treepedia doesn’t count the individual number of trees in the city and adds that the study is “not about rating cities to compete in a green olympics.”

A press release said that Treepedia’s website uses Google Street View data to measure urban “Green Canopy,” or “the aboveground portion of trees and vegetation in cities around the world.”

“We’ve developed a scaleable and universally applicable method by analyzing the amount of green perceived while walking down the street,” researchers wrote. “The visualization maps street-level perception only... Our focus is on street trees: Treepedia doesn't map parks, as [Google Street View] doesn't venture into them as it does on average streets.”

MIT said its project aims to raise a proactive awareness of urban vegetation improvement, and the release adds that green canopy is an important and integral part of urban life since they mitigate extreme temperatures, provide a natural respite from traffic, noise, and congestion, and improve the quality of life for those living in urban environments.

“However, the average citizen is often removed from understanding the individual features of their unique environmental habitats,” the study said before asking this question.

“How, then, can citizens be better engaged in this process so that they can play a more integral role in helping to shape the green canopies in their neighborhoods?”

CL is reaching out to the City of Tampa arborist to see what they have to say about that, but for now you can add this knowledge to your list of useless Tampa facts.

click to enlarge Tampa is No. 1 when it comes to tree canopy cover, says MIT study
Photo by MIT Senseable City Lab

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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