Growing Climate Resilience: An Urban Forest Design Framework
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Climate change promises many negative impacts on human physical, mental and community health in the Puget Sound region. Urban forests supply multiple cultural and ecological services, and because of these multiple benefits, they are often cited as a tool for building urban resilience to the effects of climate change. Urban forests reduce negative climate change impacts, enabling cities to absorb greater disturbance while maintaining their essential structure and function and supporting the wellbeing of residents. To contribute to resilience, landscape designers, planners and policy makers should aim to design and manage the urban forest to enhance its health and provision of ecosystem services. Landscape professionals need additional tools and information readily accessible to guide their decision-making and to inform the balance between cultural and ecological benefits. To this end, I present an Urban Forest Design Framework for Climate Change Resilience distilled from an extensive literature review. The Framework centers on ten cultural and ecological resilience principles. It is tested here using a case study of three rights-of-way in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, WA. The case study offers a range of design scenarios for each right-of-way, revealing associations and tradeoffs between the cultural and ecological resilience principles and providing examples of how the principles can be prioritized within a specific context. The scenarios also illuminate several resilience principles particularly important to streetscape design in general and relevant to Georgetown in particular. Based on the results of the case study, the strengths and weaknesses of the Framework are evaluated and further work is suggested.