PLACE Website

PLACE Program
3530 Wilshire Blvd, 8th Floor,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 351-7825
PLACE Urban Forest Work

Climate change affects all LA County residents, but some communities are affected more than others. The communities that often face inequities in health outcomes, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, infectious diseases and chronic illness, are also more heavily impacted by climate change (PDF). Trees are an important component in how the County addresses health inequities and can help vulnerable neighborhoods adapt to a changing climate. Trees also support traffic safety and physical activity by calming traffic and supporting great places to walk and roll.

Urban Forest Management Plan
The urban forest is an essential part of a healthy community, made up of trees on both public and private lands. Spread equitably and supported by other urban greening measures, a well-managed urban forest throughout LA County can deliver healthier soils, biodiversity, habitats, shading from heat, and greater community health and well-being. As a first step, PLACE and the Chief Sustainability Office are developing an Urban Forest Management Plan for Los Angeles County that prioritizes resilient, climate-appropriate trees, understory vegetation, and native biodiversity. The plan will also help conserve mature trees and properly manage resources to ensure that trees thrive in our urban environment.

Free Trees for Unincorporated Residents
Trees cool and beautify our neighborhoods, improve our physical and mental health, save energy, and help clean our water and air. Unincorporated LA County residents can request a free street tree from Public Works! Visit the Public Works Parkway Trees website to request yours. If you live in the City of Los Angeles, visit City Plants to request free trees for your home or neighborhood.

Urban Tree Sensing Project
PLACE received a grant in 2020 from the Quality and Productivity Commission to pursue a modern, data-driven approach to urban forestry. “Optimizing Planning and Management of Los Angeles County’s Urban Forest” uses existing data from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and LARIAC to develop and pilot a Machine Learning algorithm unique to the L.A.-area; eventually helping us to count, identify, and check in on every tree in the region, at the push of a button. This cost-effective, automated approach to an otherwise manual, costly activity will help us better understand and manage our urban forest. Visit to learn more.

Youth-Led Tree Planting & Education
Urban tree planting is a key climate change resilience strategy for many municipalities, but remains challenged by establishment mortality in semi-arid regions. Street trees offer shade benefits to adjacent structures and pavement; and enable public works departments to implement heat island reduction interventions to exposed communities. But in Los Angeles, resident approval and written agreement to water for 3–5 years is required to plant street trees in residential public rights of way. Historically, 10% of residents contacted agreed to adopt street trees, and 50% of trees planted survived. Community engagement strategies, shown to improve tree acceptance rates and survival elsewhere, had not been tested here.

In February 2017, Supervisor Hilda Solis sponsored a tree planting initiative called “Life is Better with Trees” to help provide shade, clean air, cooler temperatures and a better quality of life for residents in urban neighborhoods. The PLACE team collaborated with the First District, Los Angeles County Public Works, the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps and other community partners as a project of the Healthy Design Workgroup’s Tree Committee. Nearly 2,000 trees were planted in Valinda, Bassett, Walnut Park and East Los Angeles. As part of the project, the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps provided rigorous job and life skills training to young adults who were also trained to plant the trees, while working on their GED or required community service. Read our brief on Life is Better with Trees.

In 2019, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas sponsored a tree planting and education project in Westmont and West Athens, “Trees Make Life Better.” For this project, PLACE supported the Second District, Los Angeles County Public Works, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, From Lot to Spot, and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust in tree outreach and education; and in planting 650 trees at community planting events and in front of residents’ homes.

California State University, Northridge consulted with PLACE on "A novel resident outreach program improves street tree planting outcomes in Los Angeles," a mixed-methods evaluation of Life is Better With Trees. The evaluation identifies multiple strategies to inform future tree planting projects, increase street tree acceptance and establishment survival, and support community co-benefits.


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