This in-progress foresight project maps a global dataset that shows all 31 current climate systems of temperature and precipitation and their projected shifts into 2100. It pairs this map with a tree list for each of the 31 climate systems. At 30 meter blocks, the pairing allows designers or urban foresters to understand future trends in a project area and choose trees that are best adapted to the projected effects of climate change. This helps ensure that urban trees, with a typical life of about 30 years, will not need replacement earlier. Through partnerships with scientists and industry experts the team is also paying close attention to including a number of heat-adapted trees. Urban areas can be 7 degrees hotter than the surrounding region due to heat absorbing materials, causing the Urban Heat Island Effect. The United States accounts for more than 141 million acres of urban forest which provides many benefits including carbon sequestration, extreme heat mitigation, and air quality improvement, so ensuring its longevity is paramount.


Anya Domlesky and Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA