Forward-thinking cities across the country are harnessing the power of trees to improve livability and address public health and safety concerns. The City of Columbus made a decision to proactively manage, preserve and grow its urban forest through an urban forestry master plan (UFMP). This is a critical step for the city, especially in light of the exponential growth expected and existing public health challenges combined with a warming climate.
This is a strategic and long-term investment in Columbus’ tree canopy.
Currently, tree canopy is not equitably distributed across the city, causing disparities in health, economic prosperity and overall quality of life. This plan is aimed at reversing this situation and providing more efficient and effective urban forest management services to citizens.
The City relied on the urban planning and municipal forestry operations expertise of Urban Canopy Works to co-develop the plan. This project engaged a 100+ member Advisory Group in multiple working meetings to assess the conditions of the existing urban forest and to determine the community’s priorities. Input was also collected through the project website and a well-attended public open house. An internal operations review was conducted, as well as a full review of the policies, plans and codes in place.
UCW’s approach to this project from the beginning was to be thorough, inclusive and flexible. Experience has shown that expectations and outputs can change or evolve throughout the planning process as discoveries are made from data analysis and public engagement