Seattle/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on April 02, 2024
Seattle Unveils Interactive Maps for Urban Forestry Awareness and Tree Protection TransparencySource: Unsplash/Jan Huber

The City of Seattle has rolled out a high-tech approach to urban forestry, launching two new interactive maps to keep locals clued in on the arboreal happenings throughout their concrete jungle. This initiative comes after the city put fresh tree protection codes into effect last year, aimed at squaring the circle between greening the city and sustaining housing development. According to Building Connections, a Seattle government resource, these tools are a response to the increasing need to find a balance between development and sustainability.

The first map, known as the Tree Public Notice Map, lets residents see the scoop on upcoming and past tree work including removals that might affect the leafy skyline of their neighborhoods. Users can scour the map for future work or dig into details of tree work that's already been done. It's a simple matter of typing in an address or just cruising around on the map to track down any posted tree public notices. This resource is particularly useful for those keeping an eagle eye on the preservation of the city’s green canopy.

Not to be overshadowed, the second asset, the Tree Tracking Data Map, equips Seattleites with data from tree tracking records that adhere to the new tree protection ordinance effective as of mid-2023. The map paints a picture of the lifecycle of urban trees in Seattle, detailing those shielded from the saw, those marked for removal, and where new saplings will take root. The goal is to provide transparency and, ultimately, to keep a check on the city's commitment to its leafy denizens. "This data includes tree information (such as tree name, category, and size) related to approvals granted when development is occurring on the site, as well as when there is no construction occurring on the site," states the announcement from Building Connections.

With the tools now in the public domain, Seattle's Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) hopes that increased visibility will foster greater community engagement in urban forestry efforts. Those keen to delve into the details can filter their search by various parameters including tree category and related tree activity. With canopy cover serving as a vital sign of urban forest health, and trees adding tangible value to both properties and quality of life, these maps could well become a go-to for residents eager to stay informed and involved in their city's environmental narrative.

Seattle-Transportation & Infrastructure