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Tree City: Santa Monica Could Redefine, and Embody 'Arboretum'

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Photo by Melon Bee via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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An arboretum is, in essence, a collection of trees, though by contemporary definition, it is a place dedicated to conservation of and education about trees. Now Santa Monica is beginning to explore the possibility of being "the first city-wide arboretum in the world," according to The LookOut News.

The idea, which was first brought up for public discussion earlier this week in Santa Monica, breaks down into three components. Firstly, the city would create a "central location that would serve as the hub for the arboretum." Though a few locations have already been bandied about, most notably large city parks, ultimately the community would determine the location.

Secondly, the rest of the city's public spaces would be filled with trees, showcasing a variety of trees from around the world. Lastly, in cooperation with CalTrans, Santa Monica would line the 10 Freeway with trees, which would also combat what some feel is an inherent "ugliness" provided by the freeway.

According to The LookOut News, the overall reaction of the crowd present at Tuesday's community meeting was positive. Among the experts on hand, David Brown, executive director of Descano Gardens called proposed plan to make Santa Monica a city-wide arboretum “a very, very romantic idea.”

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Initial objections include concern about recreation and sports-playing spaces being taken over by trees, the need to import some trees, as well as, of course, the cost.

Santa Monica Recreation & Parks Commissioner Richard McKinnon explains the concept behind what is known as "The City as Arboretum: Santa Monica’s Next Park" as follows: "Santa Monica is already focused on its trees, its urban forest, and the benefits they bring. Making the City an Arboretum involves adding and extending our thinking of what trees we plant, where we plant them and why. It creates a forever and ongoing discussion about the landscape we live in. Making Santa Monica an Arboretum guarantees we diversify and intensify the trees we plant and value; symbolizes the values of the people who live here; and represents a big idea about our City. It will make our City a complex and rich place to live in.”