Jacqueline Lu, Director of Data Analytics for NYC Parks, delivered a lightning talk at the Summit on Data-Smart Government describing the city’s tree census, for which the Parks Department leveraged volunteers to to count all city street trees.
In 2015, the city set out to understand the location, type, and condition of all city street trees in order to better manage New York’s urban forest. After arming 2,200 volunteers with user-friendly survey instruments, New York was able to create a street tree map for all New Yorkers. The online platform allows users to contribute data, mark favorite trees, organize tree-care groups, and submit service requests. Following the census, New York held a data workshop for novices intended to teach census volunteers to analyze the data they produced.