Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Vibrant Cities Lab: Grow an Urban Forestry Program from the Ground Up

How do you easily make cities more vibrant? That is the main question the U.S. Forest Service, American Forests, and the National Association of Regional Councils was looking to answer when they created the user friendly and visually stunning Vibrant Cities Lab to help city managers, policymakers and advocates build thriving urban forest programs from the ground up. Particularly when budgets are limited, this tool can be used to prioritize the most important urban forestry investments a community can make to meet its own objectives. This indispensable tool for municipal leaders, advocates, and urban forestry professionals uses fresh design to present over 500 pages of content in an easily digestible manner. Phew!

When introducing the platform Ian Leahy, from American Forests said “Urban forestry as a discipline has matured to a stage whereby it is ready to integrate into the decision-making processes of the disciplines that impact tree canopy the most. Vibrant Cities Lab is an important online infrastructure to begin doing that on a national scale.”

The Vibrant Cities Lab empowers citizen groups advocating for greenspace with an Urban Forestry Toolkit to organize information to help planners make better decisions that affect the quality of life in their neighborhoods. We were thrilled to be highlighted as a case study with our frequent partner the Urban Forestry Division. Broken down into steps Assess, Prioritize, Organize, Plan, Build, and Sustain, the lab walks you through a step by step process for your community forestry program.

By providing research and easily understood video material, the Vibrant Cities Lab has framed the discourse for citizens and urban planners alike so that intelligent decisions can be made when managing the vital biodiversity that sustains urban life. What is your community waiting for?

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