Valuing the Potential Economic, Social, and Environmental Impacts of the Philly Tree Plan

The Philly Tree Plan (the Plan) is a strategic plan for the equitable growth and care of Philadelphia’s urban forest, commissioned by the City of Philadelphia (the City) and led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR). Developed in partnership with the urban planning consultancy Hinge Collective, and in alignment with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Philadelphia 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the Greenworks sustainability plan, the Philly Tree Plan calls for a sizable investment in tree planting and care across Philadelphia, with a primary focus on communities determined to be in highest need of additional tree cover.

The ultimate goal of the Plan is to reduce disparities of tree canopy distribution within Philadelphia to allow all residents to be able to directly benefit from a renewed investment in trees as public health infrastructure. Achieving 30 percent tree canopy cover by the year 2050 was identified as a benchmark in the Philly Tree Plan because of the supporting body of research that projects significant health impacts associated with 30 percent cover. This also aligns the Philly Tree Plan with the canopy cover goal stated in both the Greenworks Plan and the Philadelphia 2035 Plan.

PPR engaged ESI, a Philadelphia-based urban economics consultancy, to evaluate the potential economic, social, and environmental benefits that could accrue to the City of Philadelphia and its residents if the Philly Tree Plan were to be implemented as proposed. The following report describes estimates of these potential benefits. ESI developed estimates of the monetary value of the social and environmental benefits from the Philly Tree Plan, based on economic and scientific research. ESI estimated the economic output, employment, and tax revenue impacts from capital investments and operations of the Plan using IMPLAN input-output modeling software and industry-standard procedures and assumptions.

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