by KL Wolf
Journal of Arboriculture 29(3):117-1262003
To better understand how streetscapes influence behavior in commercial districts, inner city residents of seven large U.S. cities (Los Angeles, CA; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; Pittsburgh, PA; Austin, TX; Seattle, WA) with revitalizing neighborhood business districts were surveyed. Respondents were shown photographs of three potential streetscapes: one with no trees or other vegetation (No Trees), one with medium trees planted equal distances apart (Traditional Trees), and one, more informal, with trees combined with shrubs and other vegetation in planters and garden beds (Mixed Vegetation). The business districts with trees (Traditional Trees and Mixed Vegetation) were seen as being more attractive and comfortable, interactions with merchants were perceived more highly, and so was the quality of the merchandise. Respondents said they would be willing to travel farther, stay longer, visit more often, and pay more to park in treed areas. These results suggest that the urban forest has an important role to play in the revitalization of neighborhood business districts.