Some of Houston’s most vulnerable neighborhoods could soon see new shade trees and better parks.
Driving the news: The Houston Endowment granted $8 million to Trees for Houston and the Houston Parks Board to help increase access to parks across the city and plant trees in places where they’re sorely needed.
- $4 million is going to each organization to “supercharge” their work, Lisa Hall, vice president of program strategy at the Houston Endowment, said in a blog post.
How it works: The Houston Parks Board will use the funds to focus on small park projects, per the blog post. Previous grants from the endowment went toward bigger, signature parks like Buffalo Bayou.
- Plus, a significant part of the grant is the inclusion of Trees for Houston, a decades-old organization that plants trees in parks and neighborhoods across the city.
Why it matters: Houston is home to several heat islands, where heat-absorbing surfaces and structures contribute to higher temperatures.
- One way to combat the heat island effect is to plant shade trees.
I’m lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with a lot of trees, and the only way I was able to walk my dog during the day this summer was to stick to routes with lots of shade. That was bearable even on the hundred-degree-plus days. One of the reasons I heard during this miserable time for why it stayed so damn hot during the night was that the streets absorbed so much sunlight and heat during the day that they never really cooled down overnight, which had a corresponding effect on the city as a whole. Trees, and the shade they generate, is an answer for that. So yes, more trees. They’re good for lots of reasons.