Better Foliage Through Zoning

Zoning Practice — June 2008

By James Schwab, FAICP, Carrie Fesperman


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Trees are an overwhelmingly popular amenity in urban areas these days, yet they don't always get the respect they deserve in local development regulations. Citizens enjoy trees, but there is room for more education of both the public and decision makers about the conditions that allow successful urban forestry programs to happen.

Planners, foresters, and arborists are learning how to convert good intentions into actual long-term improvements in greening our cities. The need for effective planning and implementation of urban forestry is becoming more apparent in a nation that is increasingly focusing its attention on serious environmental challenges like climate change. In recent years, urban forestry research has documented and quantified a variety of benefits from trees.

This issue of Zoning Practice outlines why urban forestry is important and highlights some local regulatory approaches to tree preservation and propagation.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2008
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American Planning Association

About the Authors

James Schwab, FAICP
Jim Schwab earned MAs in Urban and Regional Planning and Journalism from the University of Iowa. From 1985-1990, he was assistant editor of Planning, then moved to the APA Research Department as senior research associate. From 2007-2017, he served as manager of the APA Hazards Planning Center. Since leaving APA on May 31, 2017, he has been principal of Jim Schwab Consulting LLC, as well as an author, speaker, and continuing his role since 2008 as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Iowa. He is an accomplished author and has been responsible in whole or in part for 11 different PAS Reports. In 2016, in recognition of his "pivotal role" in helping create the new subfield of hazards planning, he was inducted into FAICP. Two years later, the Association of State Floodplain Managers awarded him its highest honor, the Goddard-White Award, in recognizing his national impact on the field of floodplain management. He is currently immediate past chair of the Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Planning Division and leading an effort to create a documentary film about the role of planning in helping communities address natural disasters and climate change.

Carrie Fesperman