Not All Trees Are Created Equal
We believe that not all trees are created equal. When designing, the type of tree one uses should be thoughtfully selected based upon various criteria (such as climate, size, intended use, lifespan, etc.) to be most effective in meeting the goals of a project, city or community. At Multistudio, we approach city design from a contextual and regional perspective. Critical regionalism is a progressive approach to design that seeks to mediate the global and local languages of place. It’s through a critical regionalist lens that we created The Tree Lists, an analysis of over 300 trees in the Kansas City region to help with tree selection.
A native approach to regional landscape design not only instills a sense of place, it creates an environment where native species quietly work in an interconnected way to support the health of our neighborhoods. And native species often perform better in their regional ecosystems: on average they live longer, suffer from fewer diseases, perform better in challenging landscape settings (parking lot medians, for example), and are more deeply connected within a critical regional food web. The Tree Lists contain some of our favorite native species in the Kansas City area, including Bur Oak, Post Oak, American Linden, and Swamp White Oak. As we continue to experience the effects of climate change on our earth and on our society, it’s our responsibility as designers to understand how we can be better stewards of our environments.