Greening the Gateway Cities aims to increase the urban tree canopy by planting and caring for trees, for free, in urban environmental justice neighborhoods. The GGC program has recently come to Malden and between now and 2024 it aims to cover 5% of target neighborhoods in new trees. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will plant and pay for the new trees.
Target neighborhoods are chosen by looking at what areas have a currently smaller tree canopy, older housing stock, higher wind speeds, or high renter populations. You can see what areas of Malden are being targeted, and whether you are eligible for a tree, here.
How do I request a tree?
Residents in the target area can request a tree by calling 617-826-5723.
To be eligible for the program benefits, residents and property owners must agree to water and take care of the trees (including mulching and pruning) for two years. When a potential tree recipient signs up, one of the DCR foresters assigned to Malden will travel to their home to determine the best location and species of tree for energy efficiency. These foresters are available for site visits and to answer questions year-round.
Why it’s important
Increasing the urban tree canopy is an important part of addressing Urban Heat Island effects, which describes the phenomenon wherein urban areas are 1-7 °F hotter during the day and 2-5 °F hotter at night than surrounding suburban and rural areas. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, trees and other vegetation lower surface and air temperatures as much as 20-45 °F from the temperature of unshaded material. Shaded structures require less energy for cooling, and trees also improve air quality, help with stormwater management, and improve resident’s overall quality of life by reducing noise and looking beautiful.
This NASA page can be a great resource for explaining Urban Heat Island effects to your kids.