New York City is about as urban as urban gets, but even concrete jungles harbour leafy life. At last count, there were 592, 130 trees in the Big Apple, and thanks to the efforts of Brooklyn-based designer Jill Hubley, you can now study them all in a colourful interactive map.
The map, which shows the distribution of trees, colour-coded by species, throughout New York City’s five boroughs, was created using 2005 tree census data. Zoomed all the way out, the technicolour blur looks like a vivid star cluster in deep space:
You can also get into as much detail as you like, by clicking on individual trees to learn their identity, zooming in to examine specific neighbourhoods and streets (seriously, if you ever wondered what sorts of trees line your block, give it a go!), or using filters to look at the distribution of various species.
Left, London Plane distribution, right, Silver maple distribution.
Hubley said she was surprised at the difference in the makeup of trees across the city’s boroughs. In an email to The Atlantic’s CityLab, she writes:
I would’ve thought the trees throughout the city would be fairly homogeneous in terms of the percentages planted. Instead, Brooklyn has more London Plane trees than any other species (23.6%), Queens has a tonne of Norway maples (18.3%), the majority of Manhattan’s trees are Honey locusts (23.3%), and Staten Island has a high percentage of Callery pears (24.8%). The Bronx has the most evenly distributed assortment of trees—Honey locust, Norway maple, and London Plane tree are all popular (11-13% each).
New York City’s trees provide a host of environmental benefits, from keeping the metropolis cooler to reducing storm water runoff to providing habitat for local animals. Mapping its trees isn’t just about creating pretty visualisations, it’s about understanding the complexity of our urban environments so that we can better manage them. [ The Atlantic CityLab]
Images reproduced with permission from Jill Hubley. You can check out more of her awesome visualisations on her website.