Cool & Connected Oak Cliff

Learn more about our Smart Growth for Dallas related work!

We've had a blast working with The Texas Trees Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and The Nature Conservancy; and working together with Oak Cliff residents and schools to implement large-scale tree planting projects in a targeted “heat island” area in southern Dallas. 

Science has shown that healthy urban tree canopies provide cities and communities a broad range of environmental and health benefits. Trees help combat extreme heat and harmful air pollution, both of which contribute to public health concerns like asthma and heart disease. They also regulate water quality, reduce storm water runoff and provide habitat for wildlife. Increasingly, urban forests and other forms of green space are recognized as an important strategy for increasing a city’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and, a growing body of research shows that students benefit from close proximity to green space around schools.

Unfortunately, parks, trees, and green space are in short supply in parts of Dallas—particularly around schools. Research from The Trust for Public Land indicates that only 58% of Dallas residents have a park or trail within a half-mile walking distance from their home; and a recent study from the Texas Trees Foundation indicates that 95% of schools in the Dallas Independent School District lack adequate canopy cover. Additionally, Dallas has the 3rd fastest growing urban heat island in the country.

Project partners are using data driven analysis to identify and advance tree planting in neighborhoods and school campuses with the greatest need. The Trust for Public Land’s recent “Smart Growth for Dallas” analysis identified portions of the historic Oak Cliff community, in southern Dallas, as a high priority for urban heat island reduction, connectivity enhancements, equity improvements and efforts to improve public health.

Over the course of the next several months, project partners will work alongside community volunteers and students to plant over 1,000 trees in a target area of Oak Cliff. Trees will be planted on two Dallas Independent School District (DISD) school campuses and in the surrounding neighborhood, including linkages to the Honey Springs-Cedar Crest Trail.

Join us! There will be more tree plantings and community meetings in 2018. Find out more about the project and the next opportunity to contribute your time and input into this work here: