Toronto’s Grange Park. (Scott Webb/Unsplash)

The Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have announced the first cities to be recognized through the Tree Cities of the World program, including Paris, Toronto, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Last year was the first year of eligibility in this worldwide initiative to recognize cities for their commitment to urban forestry management.

A total of 59 cities earned this international designation, including 27 in the United States, ranging from Auburn, Nebraska (population 3,460), to New York City. Other world cities were Guadalajara, Mexico; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Campo Grande, Brazil; and Auckland, New Zealand. (The complete list of recognized communities can be found here.) To earn this recognition, each city had to meet five core standards for managing city trees and forests.

“We applaud all of the cities that have earned Tree City designation,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “They are leaders when it comes to planning and managing their urban forests. Many of the cities being recognized have gone above and beyond to use trees as part of their green infrastructure. This distinction is a celebration of their creativity and sustainability in creating healthier urban spaces.”

The Tree Cities of the World program is a partnership of FAO and the Arbor Day Foundation that began in 2019. Its shared vision is to connect cities around the world in a new network dedicated to adopting the most successful approaches to managing urban trees and forests. Recognition through the Tree Cities of the World program represents the first step toward achieving a green vision for qualifying cities.

“We congratulate the first cities to be recognized for 2019, our inaugural year,” said Hiroto Mitsugi, assistant director general of FAO. “Together, these Tree Cities form a new global network of urban forestry leaders who share the same values for city trees and forests. We are proud to recognize these cities for their actions toward healthier, greener places to live.”

For more information on the Tree Cities of the World program and to see how your city can become involved, visit TreeCitiesoftheWorld.org.

At the ULI Spring Meeting in Toronto, there will be a discussion titled “Unlocking the Power of Parks: How New Approaches Are Creating Vibrant Parks and Open Spaces.” If you have not registered already, you can do so here.