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The Political Economy of Street Trees


Over the last 50 years there has been a paradigmatic shift in the climate of ideas and governing orthodoxy from Keynesian-corporatism to neoliberalism. Such paradigms provide the philosophical goals that are pursued by policy and practice and determine what are considered to be the legitimate means of attaining those goals. We use evolving policy and practice relating to the protection and management of street trees as a vehicle for examining the relations between the competing paradigms of corporatism and neoliberalism, and the ways that they are expressed ‘on the ground’. In doing so we highlight the tensions between the amenity value and the economic value of street trees and between techniques for their estimation. The legitimacy of measures of the former, such as Helliwell and CAVAT, that embody corporatist concepts are subject to continuing challenges based on their (lack of) scientific rigour or economic principle. The strengths of measures of the latter, such as i-Tree, are emphasised on the same grounds. Such is the success of these efforts that the equation of the value of a street tree with an estimation of the price that people will pay for the ecosystem services it delivers is not seen as controversial.

Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2021
Publication Date Mar 18, 2022
Book Title The Politics of Street Trees
ISBN 9780367516284
Keywords trees; politics; economy
Publisher URL

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