Dublin’s Tree Divide

A common phrase that conveys affluence in Dublin is ‘leafy suburb’, which describes parts of the city that are relatively wealthy and endowed with luxuriant vegetation. Does, the phrase have any basis in fact?

Property prices (top) and tree cover (bottom) of Dublin

On the attached maps, I have plotted the tree canopy cover of Dublin (which has been posted before) alongside a map showing the price paid for residential property sold in Dublin during 2015. The latter information was retrieved from the Property Price Register that provides the address and the price; it does not tell you the size of the dwelling or whether it is a house or an apartment or even whether the property has a number of dwellings. There were over 15,000 properties sold with Dublin addresses in 2015; Google Earth Pro was used to locate many (about 66%) these properties in geographic coordinates. This sample of properties is shown here with each property colour-coded according to its sale value. I chose to divide the data into quantiles as price values are positively skewed; the greenest properties fall into the top 20% and the reddest fall into the bottom 20% in terms of price. 

The patterns for canopy cover and property value show a strong correspondence; overall, it is true to say that the ‘leafiest’ suburbs are also the most valuable from the perspective of property value. This relationship reflects the nature of the urban landscape in different parts of the city: where trees are large and healthy, properties tend to be larger (bigger gardens), road and parks are landscaped with trees; where there are few trees, properties are smaller in size, less of the built landscape is planted with trees and parks are mostly grass playing surfaces. (Mills)

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