Despite its reputation for being trendy and revitalized, there’s one thing Lawrenceville still lacks: trees.
The city-wide average urban tree canopy or UTC (a number which measures how much of a given area is covered with trees) is 42 percent. Collectively, Upper, Central and Lower Lawrenceville have a UTC of just 22 percent.
That’s why Tree Pittsburgh, a local organization seeking to improve the quality and quantity of Pittsburgh’s urban forestry, is rolling out a pilot program to help Lawrenceville get some of its long-gone green back.
“We decided to take the city-wide master plan and start thinking on the neighborhood level,” says Jen Kulgren, Tree Pittsburgh’s community forester, who adds that Lawrenceville is ideal for this trial run given its status as a low-canopy area, its diverse mix of residential and commercial usage and its topography. “Lawrenceville has the capacity to take on a bigger project. In the end, a big component of it is going to be community involvement.”
Tree Pittsburgh has already reached out to Lawrenceville residents and business owners in an attempt to rally support and begin deciding where it can make the biggest impact.
“We’re trying to understand where people would want more trees,” Kulgren says. “We’re starting to look into backyard and private property tree plantings. We’ve got a multi-tiered approach and we’re looking at ways for getting the residents of Lawrenceville more connected.”
In addition to exploring private property and residential space options, Tree Pittsburgh plans on adding more trees along the business districts on Penn Avenue and Butler Street — a project which could begin this spring.
According to the organization’s master plan, Tree Pittsburgh would like to get the city’s average UTC from its current 42 percent to around 60 percent within the next 20 years.
“Eventually, the goal is to take this neighborhood-level approach to different places throughout the city,” Kulgren says.