Trees help make city a cooler place to live
You wouldn't guess metro Phoenix used to be known for its trees. The Valley was once a leafy oasis, with ample shade offering protection from the heat.
Trees are associated with livable cities for more than aesthetics, although that's a powerful reason to have them.
They also reduce air pollution, control erosion, offset the buildup of urban heat and can reduce utility costs.
As Arizona spruces up for its centennial next year, it's a great time to crank up tree-planting campaigns. Some added momentum could come from Wednesday's Regional Tree and Shade Summit, which included representatives from Valley cities.
Phoenix is trying to increase its "tree canopy," the amount of living shade coverage, from a skimpy 11 percent to 25 percent.