Monday, July 20, 2009

Economist's Notebook: Trees

As an economic naturalist I often wonder about the economic forces that have lead to come observable outcome. One such phenomenon which I have always wondered about are street trees: for what reason do wealthier neighborhoods of similar vintage have an amazing canopy of giant trees while more modest neighborhoods do not?

One only has to walk from, say, Buckman to Laurelhurst or Westmoreland to Eastmoreland to observe this phenomenon. I am sure the answer is pretty simple, but nothing obvious comes to mind without some objection from the recesses of my mind.

So, were trees that expensive back when the neighborhoods were built? Is it the difference in proper tree maintenance over the years? Some other reason? What?

I leave it to you, dear readers, to set me straight...


Dann Cutter said...

If we presume more modest housing, I would wager a guess that 'lot size' is a primary variable.

As lot sizes decrease, property values accordingly decrease - but so do setbacks, green space, etc while the opportunity cost of letting a large tree grow where one might instead put another form of yard object increases. As such, often, people choose the alternative yard object.

Trees take 20 years to take hold into a large canopy, while often, people sell every 7 years, so to grow, it must escape three or four differing valuations of purpose in a yard. Even in a fairly affluent neighborhood in the west hills, a new homeowner was almost always determinable by a newly missing tree. However, they have more trees to sacrifice over the similar period of time, and less loss of use if they choose to retain a tree.

Julie said...

Trees take 20 years to take hold into a large canopy
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