The City’s Jungles; Not Quite Concrete

Images of New York City are more likely to include towering skyscrapers than old-growth trees. But there are people out there looking to even the playing field.

This episode of Research Radio takes listeners out into the field…literally. Timon McPhearson, assistant professor of environmental studies at The New School for Public Engagement, spends his summers in the city’s parks. For the past three years, he and his student researchers have been measuring tree growth and management practices in collaboration with the city’s Million Trees NYC initiative. Though Million Trees NYC’s main goal is to plant a million trees by 2017, another is to create a more sustainable and diverse urban forest. Here’s where McPhearson comes in: his research lab joined three years ago to document the initiative’s progress not only on the health of the newly planted trees, but also on whether levels of biodiversity are increasing.

Timon McPhearson and his students measure tree growth in one of the plots his research team is monitoring in Fort Totten Park.

Research Radio caught up with him in Fort Totten Park in Queens, where he was finishing up the season’s field measurements.

Research Radio is a New School podcast series that tells stories of academic inquiry at the university. From sustainability to psychology to politics, our faculty and students have been researching pressing social and scientific issues for nearly a century–and now you can listen to their latest findings.