As chair of the Chagrin Falls Shade Tree Commission, I would like to periodically post information on the value of shade trees. The first topic in this series is: The Value of Shade Trees in a Business District. The information for this posting was gleaned from research done by Dr. Kathleen Wolf of the University of Washington. Doctor Wolf is a highly respected scientist whose work strictly adheres to the best practices in research and has been published in highly respected journals.
Dr. Wolf asked respondents to rate business districts on a scale of 1, the lowest rating, to 5, the highest rating. Business districts with no trees received a rating of 1.66. Districts with tree canopies similar to the one found in Chagrin Falls received a rating of 3.32. Pocket parks, like our triangle and Riverside Park, received a rating of 3.69.
Dr. Wolf then compared patronage behavior in business districts with high ratings like those for Chagrin Falls to those with a lower rating. The results showed that business patrons were willing to drive farther to shop in a district with a tree canopy similar to ours, stayed longer, and visited more often than they did in similar business districts without trees.
Additionally, Dr. Wolf measured patrons’ place perceptions of treed districts vs. those with few trees. She found that places similar to Chagrin Falls received ratings 30% higher than those without trees. She also discovered that respondents estimated the price of goods in districts similar to ours to be worth 9% more than those found in districts without trees.
By looking at these studies, I believe we can all see that by planting and maintaining trees in our business district we are investing in the economic success of Chagrin Falls.