Right Tree Right Place Right Time:

Can tree-scape design be undertaken in a strategic and flexible way so that designers can quantify ecosystem service performance of trees for footpath shading of school children in pedestrian walking catchments, whilst still communicating traditional design performance objectives such as visual impact?

A visual-functional design approach to select and place trees for optimal shade benefit to commuting pedestrians

Australia tops the world’s charts in occurrence of skin cancer and intensity of heat waves, while concurrently achieving high childhood obesity levels, due in part to low rates of physical activity. These issues converge in the challenge of protecting school children from heat and ultra-violet light exposure whilst simultaneously encouraging them to select active modes of transport for school journeys.

This project explores the development of a new performance-based tree-scape design approach for quantifying shaded walking routes using the pedestrian accessibility modelling tool “PedestrianCatch”, combined with visual-functional tree-scape modelling for both solar impact analysis and qualitative aesthetic outcomes of different street tree-scape designs.

The study results demonstrate the potential for targeted strategic street tree selection and planting in proximity to schools, providing the co-benefits of improved thermal comfort and reduced solar and ultra-violet exposure of children walking home from school. This performance-based design approach offers local government, public health and education departments with a way to mediate multiple and divergent concerns for climate amelioration, transport choices and population health by planting the right tree, positioned to provide shade in the right place at the right time.

Project Contact:
Dr Nano Langenheim,  Lecturer In Landscape Architecture & Urban Design

Project Partners:
Professor Marcus White
Professor Diego Ramirez-Lovering
Professor Nigel Tapper
Professor Steven Livesley