Does the distribution of juvenile tree planting impact local air temperature? A calibrated microclimate simulation in Holyoke Massachusetts

Authors: Meyru Bhanti*, Clark Univeristy
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental Science
Keywords: Microclimate, Urban greening, juvenile trees,planting distribution,ENVI-MEt
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Holyoke is a post-industrial city in western Massachusetts facing rising summer and winter energy costs in its older housing stock neighborhoods, partly due to low tree canopy cover. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Greening the Gateway Cities (GGC) program seeks to increase existing tree canopy cover by 10% in selected environmental justice neighborhoods in twenty-six Gateway cities. Within Holyoke, a former pulp paper-manufacturing hub, the DCR planted 1,678 trees on private and public land-use between 2015 and 2017. This study will explore the effects of the spatial distribution of tree planting on the local climate, in order to provide tree planting recommendations for the ongoing GGC program. In situ climate station data were used to simulate local air temperature using ENVI- met, a three-dimensional microclimate simulation model. A representative residential housing block, containing planted street and yard trees, was chosen for analysis and five different planting scenarios were explored using two temperature projections: typical August air temperature and a 30-year temperature projection (3°C increase). Five simulations were considered: (1) 0% canopy coverage; (2) existing coverage as of 2017; (3) assumes no new trees were planted in 2015-2017; (4) only trees on public streets are planted; (5) optimal planting in which streets are planted to maximum capacity and all residential trees are planted on the south and southwest sides of buildings. Understanding the effects that the spatial distribution of planting has at a microclimate level can guide future planning.

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