This week is National Tree Week and a fintech project byNational College of Ireland graduate, Shane Grogan, shows a direct correlation between higher tree canopy coverage and higher housing prices.

“I used satellite data to map tree canopy coverage and cross-referenced with the residential property price index,” explains Grogan. “Much of the tree coverage is not from private gardens, but from street-planting and parks, therefore paid for and maintained by the local council. You could make the argument that higher house prices are, to some extent, being subsidised by public money.”

Grogan has an idealistic goal behind this somewhat cynical argument and a timely one for National Tree Week:

“It is not news that trees fight air and noise pollution, and provide homes and eco-corridors for birds and animals. We’ve been told for years how trees are good for us, including for human physical and mental health – but this information has not encouraged people to plant trees. I’m hoping the thought of raising property values might inspire a kind of ‘selfish environmentalism’.”

Grogan comes from a farming background and has, himself, planted over 4,000 trees on the family farm in North County Dublin. The work he did for his Higher Diploma in Fintech finds resonance in the EU Communication Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, which will become mandatory for all EU states by 2020.

“Natural Capital Accounting, where a financial value is placed on natural assets such as trees, bogs, and rivers, is a fascinating area. I’m now undertaking an MSc in Data Analytics, which will allow me to more accurately place a value on urban trees, which my research shows to date shows, in the Dublin area alone, could be up to €126 billion.”

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