Trivia

Hard

To Aid In Maintenance Urban Planners In Melbourne Australia Assigned Email Addresses To What City Feature?

Buildings
Trees
Traffic Lights
Streets

Answer: Trees

In 2013, urban planners in Melbourne, Australia had a clever idea that had an impact even they didn’t anticipate. In an effort to keep up with the care and maintenance of the city’s 70,000 trees they created a citizen-accessible map wherein every single tree maintained by the city had a unique ID linked to a unique email address.

The idea was that Melbourne citizens could click the little link on the map, “Email this tree”, and send reports to the city about the tree if they noticed it was damaged, experiencing environmental stress, or required the attention of city workers. To that end the plan worked very well and people were able to easily report when individual trees needed trimming or other help.

What the planners didn’t anticipate, however, was that some people would truly write to the trees. Over the years that the project has been running, school children have written in to ask the trees questions about tree biology. People have written in to tell the trees stories of meeting their loved ones under their branches. Others have written the trees poems, asked them about local events, or told them stories about trees on the other side of town.

While not every email gets answered, many people report receiving replies from the trees they’ve contacted advising them about matters of tree biology, wishing them luck in their endeavours, and offering opinions about matters big and small.

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