This past weekend in Louisville, you might have gone to Abbey Road on the River in Belvedere Park, the Kentucky Reggae Festival at the Water Tower, or the Mayor's Healthy Hometown Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle atWaterfront Park. This week, you might hit the Butchertown Art Fair or other outdoor activities. . When it is in the 70's you will probably enjoy being outside. When it is humid, and 10 or 20 degrees hotter, you will probably appreciate being anywhere where there are some trees to shade the area.
How's Our Tree Canopy?
Maintaining the "tree canopy," the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above," has long been a contentious issue in Louisville between developers and tree lovers. While developers see trees as "curb appeal," environmentalists and our local Tree Commission see them a crucial ally in the war against global warming and a natural cooling mechanism..
As researcher Brian Stone of Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Tech noted in a recent study of 50 cities, Louisville shows the biggest disparity in temperature between its metropolitan area and rural outskirts. Between 1961-2010, we saw a difference of 1.67º - double that of Phoenix, the second highest city on the list. The result is a "heat island," which is a public health issue in a heat wave. One major contributing factor in Louisville is the climate of the Ohio River Valley, but the lack of trees is another. “The tree canopy downtown is one of the sparsest of any city I have seen in the country,” Stone said – only...