NYC TreesCount! Data Jam Challenges


For the third time in the past 20 years, together with our hard-working volunteers and stewards, NYC Parks is conducting a comprehensive inventory of our street trees to improve NYC Parks’ ability to manage our urban forest.

As part of TreesCount! 2015, NYC Parks has engaged with our voluntreers, tree-oriented community groups, and non-profit partners to identify how street tree census data can help improve equitable care of our urban forest. NYC Parks, with the assistance of BetaNYC, has turned this feedback and NYC Park’s own questions into these Data Jam challenges.

Now, we are asking you to help us make sense of the Census! Join us by RSVPing via eventbrite. Childcare and scholarships available.

#1. How has NYC’s urban forest changed over time — comparing 1995, 2005, and 2015?

TreesCount! 2015 is the third decadal effort to completely inventory New York City’s street trees! To date, 530,000 trees, representing approximately 80% of the City’s streets, have been mapped as part of the 2015 census, and NYC Parks is releasing all the data that has been reviewed to date. The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island have all been completed. It is the most spatially accurate street tree dataset New Yorkers have ever seen. We need your help visualizing, comparing, and understanding changes across tree census datasets.

By building maps or visualizations, your goal is to help us begin to understand how changes in our urban forest affect NYC’s neighborhoods.

#2. How can we visualize Street Tree Census Data to improve our understanding of the urban forest and help educate New Yorkers?

The Street Tree Census provides us with a wealth of data. Turning this into useful information through maps and visualizations helps us understand the urban forest. Maps and visualizations can help us build an understanding of this shared resource, and enable data-driven management decisions.

Your goal is to make beautiful maps and visualizations that enable all types of New Yorkers to learn more about our urban forest.

#3. What relationships can be drawn between the Street Tree Census Data and other environmental and economic indicators in New York City?

NYC’s urban forest is an integral component of a healthy and equitable city. Understanding the urban forest’s relationship to the City’s health and economy will help urban forest stakeholders advocate for more resources to build a healthier and equitable city. Understanding these relationships will help demystify our urban forest’s impact.

Your goal is to use tree census data to help us understand our urban forest’s relationship to specific environmental and economic indicators.

#4. How can we use the Street Tree Census Data to more efficiently plan for the long term health and growth of the urban forest?

With the 1995 and 2005 street tree censuses, NYC Parks has been able to catalyze major advances in urban forest management, making science-based operational decisions and quantify the benefits of the urban forest. In addition to understanding patterns in resource distribution and condition over time, long-term urban forest management decisions must consider factors such as climate change, pests, diseases, land use, and species diversity.

Your goal is to help us explore these factors using census data and help us develop strategies to address the future of the urban forest.

#5. How can we use Street Tree Census Data to better engage with and target the efforts of community stewardship volunteers to improve the health of the urban forest?

Trees in urban settings face many challenges from both people and the environment. We believe that tree stewardship by the community is an essential part of achieving our urban forestry goals. Resources for tree care are finite, and so it is important that we better understand tree stewards and the challenges they face, and maximize the effectiveness of our volunteers by supporting their stewardship activity.

Your goal is to explore Street Tree Census data to help develop insights that can measure the impact of stewardship on the health of our urban forest, and help us understand where stewardship efforts are most needed.

To attend the event, you need to RSVP via eventbrite. Childcare and scholarships available.

Support for this event is provided by the Mayor’s Office of Technology + Innovation, NYC Open Data, our host Civic Hall, Microsoft Civic, and CartoDB.