City Staff Ideas Challenge
#nycspeaks2022 Share your ideas for bold actions the Mayor should take
Study Afforestation of City Cemeteries to Reach City Climate Goals
Of the ~4125 acres of cemetery in NYC, <20% is canopy covered. Some cemeteries reach 30-40% canopy while others 1-5%. The disparity suggests trees and graves aren't mutually exclusive. I propose the city seek to initiate a culture shift via a program to survey, coordinate, implement and possibly provide ongoing support for tree plantings in cemeteries. I calculate a canopy goal of 60% would yield 170K new Trees (That's 6 Prospect Parks!)
I know I'd rather be buried under a tree.
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Conversation with Jo Ro
Like the idea - I'm guessing trees make grave digging more difficult and increase maintenance costs - Greenwood Cemetery is lovely... and highly maintained.
I would think the trees would come after the graves are dug and filled. Certainly trees mean maintenance, but that's a trade off we accept on city streets! I'd think if we devoted the same stewardship dollars per tree for Graveyards as we do for streets, we could keep things in shape. Either way it would require coordination with the existing provate cemetery stewards. I might suggest it could be legislated as a requirement for private operators to plant cemeteries state wide by the NYS Division of Cemeteries at DOS.
I've only recently heard of this idea and love it for NYC. I think it provides more "bang for your buck" to improve air quality, stormwater retention, and noise buffering compared to planting individual street trees. Perhaps a higher upfront cost, but it pays for itself with the lack of maintenance in the long run. This would work with other underused City/park properties as well (i.e. slivers of land next to highways).
I also think it is worth noting that cemeteries are typically located in or near environmental justice communities who could use the fresh air.
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