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Tel Aviv ranked among world's greenest cities

The Israeli city by the Mediterranean features a stunning array of tree species from around the world.


March 29, 2018 | Prev
A tree-lined pedestrian boulevard in Tel Aviv. The Israeli city was recently recognized on a list of the world's urban areas with the most trees.A tree-lined pedestrian boulevard in Tel Aviv. The Israeli city was recently recognized on a list of the world's urban areas with the most trees.Photo: Valentine Svensson / Flickr
March 29, 2018

Tel Aviv, previously recognized as "the world's sexiest city" and a global leader in tech startups, is widening its canopy of honors with a new list measuring tree density. According to MIT's state-of-the-art database known as Treepedia, Tel Aviv ranks in the top 20 of global cities flush with foliage. The index, which measures canopy coverage using panoramic images from Google Street View, gives the Israeli metropolis by the Mediterranean a "Green View" score of 17.5%. This compares favorably with other major urban areas such as New York City (13.5%), London (12.7%) and Boston (18.2%).

The city that lays claim to providing its denizens with the greatest amount of shade is none other than Singapore, which received a Green View score of 29.3%.

“We all love trees, and their contribution to cities can be extraordinary in term of our collective well-being,” Carlo Ratti, director of Treepedia, said in an interview. “Increasing a city’s tree canopy contributes to lowering summer temperatures by blocking shortwave radiation and increasing water evaporation. Creating more comfortable microclimates, trees also mitigate air pollution caused by everyday urban activities. Their absorptive root systems also help avoid floods during severe rains and storm surges. So overall, trees are pretty awesome.”

A cat enjoying the enveloping beauty of some of Tel Aviv's stunning foliage. A cat enjoying the enveloping beauty of some of Tel Aviv's stunning foliage. (Photo: Maggie and Rick / Flickr)

Outside of its copious city parks, Tel Aviv is currently home to more than 260,000 trees covering 20 square miles. Over the last decade, city officials have worked to improve green spaces by cleaning up empty lots and investing in pedestrian and nature-friendly promenades.

Riverside trees within Yarkon Park in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Kokhav Ha-tsafon. Riverside trees within Yarkon Park in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Kokhav Ha-tsafon. (Photo: Orientalizing / Flickr)

According to a 2009 study by researchers at Israel's Technion Institute and Tel Aviv University, three different species of trees tend to dominate the gardens and parks of Tel Aviv. These include Ficus retusa tree, with its massive, branching canopy, the Tipuana tipu tree, with its bright yellow flowers, and the Date palm, with its incredibly sweet and delicious fruit.

Groves of massive trees often line the oldest streets of Tel Aviv. Groves of massive trees often line the oldest streets of Tel Aviv. (Photo: GeorgeDement / Flickr)

Other beautiful species that can be discovered shading Tel Aviv's world class restaurants, museums, and gorgeous food markets include lemon-scented eucalyptus, gnarled, imposing ficus, and centuries-old massive sycamore trees.

For those with a sense of adventure, wandering the city's famous historic district of Jaffa can also lead to surprises such as the "Floating Orange Tree." Created in 1993 by Israeli Ran Morin, the unique living sculpture is suspended by wires and provided water via an integrated drip system.

Some residents of Tel Aviv let their artistic imaginations grow wild with unusual and beautiful tree installations, such as this 'floating' avocado specimen. Some residents of Tel Aviv let their artistic imaginations grow wild with unusual and beautiful tree installations, such as this 'floating' avocado specimen. (Photo: YepYep / Flickr)

Finally, no good survey of Tel Aviv's vast swath of trees would be complete without including the beachside palms that gently coax nearby pedestrians for a stroll along the Mediterranean. The city's main shore stretches for miles and, in addition to azure blue waters and picturesque sunsets, plays host to concerts, surfing competitions and the contented sighs of relaxing sun-soakers.

Palm trees grace one of Tel Aviv's spectacular beaches along the Mediterranean. Palm trees grace one of Tel Aviv's spectacular beaches along the Mediterranean. (Photo: Ron Maier / Flickr)

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Related Topics: Environment

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