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Photo credit: Dan Saelinger/Trunk Archive

Denver’s Urban Canopy Is Getting An Upgrade

Only four percent of downtown Denver sits under the shade of a tree. Luckily, this coalition is working to get us more green.

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Downtown Denver currently boasts far more concrete than jungle: Tree canopies cover a mere four percent of our urban core, six percent short of the city’s stated goal and much less than more arbor-friendly places such as San Francisco (13.7 percent). Trees aren’t just pretty; they help rid the air of pollutants and correlate with lower crime rates and better mental health. Plus, shade makes the air feel cooler. Luckily for sweaty Denverites, a movement is blooming. Throughout the summer, the Downtown Denver Partnership will prepare to expand existing “tree pits,” those intermittent holes in sidewalks where trees grow. It hopes giving roots more room will counteract the effects of underground utility and fiber optic lines, dense clay soil, and our semi-arid climate—unfriendly conditions that can prematurely kill trees. Additionally, Denver Parks and Recreation committed to planting more than 100 trees downtown by the end of 2020. And finally, to raise awareness about our tree scarcity, local nonprofit Design Workshop Foundation commissioned two sculptures from Denver artist Kenzie Sitterud that will be installed July 1 on Curtis Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall. The metal trees will stand about 12 feet tall and feature a canopy of chairs instead of leaves, which, along with placards explaining the issue, may encourage passersby to take their seats at the table.

Summer Guide

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