Urban Forest Initiative

A healthy tree canopy in Downtown Denver is imperative to the livelihood of residents and businesses alike.

16th street mall downtown denverThe benefits of a healthy urban forest are endless, from our health and wellbeing to the vibrancy of our downtown. Trees are not only beautiful but also are essential to the livelihood of Denverites. Trees provide increased property value, higher spending from consumers, higher income streams for businesses, reduced time on the market for real estate listings, and return on investment in terms of ecological and economic benefits.

We struggle to support a healthy tree ecosystem due to Denver’s climate and infrastructure. That does not stop the Partnership and Downtown Denver’s stakeholders from strategically expanding the urban canopy to address the needs of the community. The mission of Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) is to grow Denver’s urban forest through education, built infrastructure, and maintenance.

Cultivate the Culture

The more you know, the more the trees grow. The Urban Forest Initiative encourages community involvement by informing citizens about the economic, ecological, environmental and human benefits of a robust urban forest. Individuals have the power to make a difference. Here are a few important facts:

  • Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10% to a property’s value – USDA Forest Service.
  • Businesses on treescaped streets show 12% higher income streams, which is often the essential competitive edge needed for main street store success, versus competition from plaza discount store prices – Wolf, 2005.
  • In the US, trees help reduce or prevent more than 670 000 cases of severe respiratory diseases per year and thereby save more than 850 lives annually – Nowak et al., 2014.
  • A 10% increase in tree canopy results in 12% decrease in crime.
  • Children living in areas with good access to green spaces have been shown to spend less time in front of television screens, computers and smartphones and to have 11-19 percent lower prevalence of obesity compared with children limited or no access to green spaces – Dadvand et al., 2014.
  • …and the list goes on. To learn more, read 10 Reasons Why Trees Matter to Downtown Denver.
Urban Forest Initiative Downtown Denver
Rendering by: Design Workshop

Build the Canopy

Growing the urban forest seems simple: plant more trees. However, Downtown Denver’s current built infrastructure does now allow for a tree to live a long and healthy life. A typical downtown tree in a 5’x5’ tree pits only lives on average 12 years and never reaches maturity. However, we know how to build an environment for trees to thrive give many decades of benefits with a robust and mature urban forest. From tree pits to irrigation systems, we are upgrading the infrastructure to build a growing urban forest.

Maintain the Forest

The Downtown Denver Business Improvement District facilitates the Tree Health Program for commercial property owners in Downtown Denver. Not only does this program relieve property owners of the burden of tree care, but also it helps to support a healthy tree canopy by putting all the downtown trees under a centralized care system. The Tree Health Program cares for approximately 1,800 trees within downtown by providing services, including fertilization, pest management, watering and much more.

We invite the community to be stewards of our beloved trees, volunteer to build the canopy and/or contributing financially for increased infrastructure and maintenance services.

Learn more about the Urban Forest Initiative