They Paved Paradise And Put Up Palm Trees
People everywhere can agree that trees in a city are a good thing. They up real estate value, create a green lung, provide shade and beauty. But, as we learn today, not all trees are created equal. A recent project on the heavily urbanized Ibn Gvirol street in Tel Aviv has neighbours and store owners in an uproar: The $25 million upgrading project along the strip planned for palm trees and not leafy greens as residents had hoped.
According to a story in yesterday's Haaretz, when the people complained the city told them that palms were chosen because they required little maintenance — they won't need much pruning and won't "dirty" the street below with falling foliage. The story reports that the palms had replaced an island that contained flowering bushes. A resident who had lived on the street for 30 years said:
We want your thoughts. Are some trees better for urban planning than others? Are palm trees in hot Mediterranean cities a poor choice? What would you tell the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa?
"Israel is a hot country, and its residents need shady, cool green areas. What are those palms going to contribute?"
Incidentally, this TreeHugger used to live on a street in south Tel Aviv called Atad Lane. Atad is a thorny bush mentioned in the Bible. When it was asked who should be the king of all trees, no tree offered except the Atad. But it was not chosen because it gave neither fruit nor shade. You can't live in Israel and escape biblical references.