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Smart Towns Wales Celebrate National Tree Week

Photo of trees powering lights

This National Tree Week, we are thinking a lot about how trees are an integral part of Smart Towns.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘trees? You’re usually banging on about LoRaWAN’ (don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a minute!)

Smart Towns, at their core, are all about ways of making our towns more pleasant for the people who live there. This means different things to different people- and each town has their priority, from boosting footfall to managing traffic, and improving air quality…

While our raison d’etre here at Smart Towns Wales is to encourage innovative solutions, it’s important to note that many of the improvements and interventions that towns need are deeply rooted in nature.  

It’s no surprise that trees play a significant role in reducing pollution, but did you know that studies have found them to reduce particulate matter by an average of 7-24%, while simultaneously providing a cooling effect of up to 2 degrees Celsius?[1] While trees are vital in our fight against climate change, they are also one of its victims. According to the Natural Trust, with heatwaves and dry summers increasingly becoming the norm, approximately 30% of urban trees struggle to survive.

But what if these trees could communicate their needs for water? Enter LoRaWAN technology.

Deploying low-cost soil moisture sensors is a simple way to ensure that our trees are given a fighting chance, and as drought can seem like a faraway problem as we head into Welsh winter, they can also ensure that valuable resources aren’t wasted on watering trees and plants that have already been taken care of by mother nature. One such innovation has led Abergavenny Town Council to win an award for sustainable gardening alongside their Gold Medal in Britain in Bloom!

Speaking of surprising benefits, did you know that plants and trees have the potential to generate electricity? Yes, you read that right! They can power lights in green spaces, or even power their own LoRaWAN sensors, representing a remarkable fusion of nature and technology. 

As we celebrate National Tree Week, it's essential to recognize the symbiotic relationship between technological innovation and our natural environment. Trees, often considered traditional elements in urban landscapes, hold the key to addressing modern challenges faced by smart towns.

From their ability to improve air quality to their potential to generate sustainable energy, trees stand as silent yet impactful contributors to the smart evolution of our towns. They represent an intersection between nature's wisdom and technological advancements, highlighting the importance of incorporating both in the pursuit of truly smart and sustainable communities.

In conclusion, while we frequently focus on the futuristic aspects of Smart Town development, let's not overlook the humble yet indispensable presence of trees. As we continue to embrace innovation, let's ensure that these natural treasures remain an integral part of our smart towns, contributing to a healthier, more sustainable future for all.

Happy National Tree Week!

Ps. If you want to know more about how LoRaWAN can help Smart Towns fight climate change, stay tuned for our session at #WalesClimateWeek