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I walked home from Bachman’s yesterday, two impulse purchase tiny succulents tied up and tucked under my sweaters and vest for warmth for the five miles home. And I got to visit some of my favorite trees in Minneapolis.

I loved how the person walking in front of me stopped right under the second one to check their phone, how the low arc of the tree changes the sidewalk to be something special and an intuitive place to pause. Trees are vital to walkability and, as a tree person, I have to admit that some level of my antipathy towards cars has to do with both the direct and indirect violence they level at trees.

I want a city full of trees like these, where people fight to preserve an old oak instead of for parking or single family homes. I want a city where the beautiful symmetry of a cathedral arc of trees stretching to he vanishing point is a view for people on foot, not just for drivers speeding along. I want a city where trees aren’t relegated to 5′ boulevard next to 50′ of oversalted and impervious asphalt and 40MPH traffic.

Cities and trees aren’t inherently in opposition, but in Minneapolis, for decades we’ve chosen cars over anything else. And as that changes with better walking and biking, with more housing density, I’m excited by what it means for our relationship to other living creatures. When we unpave Minneapolis, what paradise can we have?

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