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The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has created a Tree and Shade Task Force, which is a “multi-department team [given the task of] mapping an aggressive strategy to improve the city’s tree and shade canopy, a crucial element in keeping the city livable in the decades to come (City of Phoenix, 2016).” This strategy is now called the “Tree and Shade Master Plan” and was adopted by the City Council on January 5, 2010. The purpose of this Master Plan is to achieve an average 25% shade canopy coverage for the entire city by 2030. It not only includes shade provided by trees but also for engineered shade structures as well.

Some of the ways that the City of Phoenix is planning on achieving this goal is by creating partnerships with various businesses, non-profit organizations, public agencies, and with the help of the community. The city is also coming up with ways to provide training and education to city staff, schools, and the general public on important information regarding the planning, selecting, planting, and caring of trees (Hall, 2010, p. 33).

Another way that the city is attempting to generate public interest is by establishing shade demonstration projects throughout the valley. For example, “The Office of Arts and Culture has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for “Gimme Shelter,” a shade design project. This RFP requests artists and designers to create shade structures that could be used in city-wide applications for streets, downtown, parks, and other city facilities (Hall, 2010, p. 34).”

A vast majority of this Master Plan is geared towards trees, so that leaves one to wonder, “Where does engineered shade come in to play in the Master Plan?” As the city stated in the Master Plan, that while “engineered shade does not provide the same economic, environmental, and social benefits that trees do. There are many areas in the city right-of-way [which] have little or no space to establish significant live shade [meaning trees]. In other areas, such as public gathering spaces, city parks, and transit stops, large engineered shade structures can provide shade and shelter from the sun, as well as provide a usable space for picnics, events, and other outdoor activities.” The city is also considering requiring engineered shade standards be put in place in the current zoning ordinance. An example of some standards would be to require structures be designed with non-heat loading construction materials. Then, if under-lighting is necessary they would encourage the use of solar panels to eliminate the need for electrical service to the structure. The last item that is still being considered is that of requiring a “revocable permit for construction of engineered shade over city right-of-way areas.” What this does is “disincentives’ the construction of engineered shade in urban areas, where it is most needed and appropriate (Hall, 2010, p. 47).”

As of July 29, 2016, Channel 3’s Mark Taylor reported that, “current research puts the tree canopy at about 10-12 percent. As the plan enters its fifth year, the man spearheading it said it’s entering its second phase. ‘Now we have canopy maps of the city so we can target different areas,’ Richard Adkins the Forestry Supervisor with the City of Phoenix said.” Additionally, Taylor touched on the point that in the densely populated downtown areas that there is no root space for trees to grow properly. It will be in these areas that the use of engineered shade will be focused. For example, Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix has already begun utilizing engineered shade. The hope is that within the next few years that the park will be 70% shaded. The last thing that Taylor mentioned was that this Master Plan will not only help in saving electricity, reducing storm water, and adding value to the city, but it has the potential to help relieve our Urban Heat Island Effect, which is one of the worst in the nation (Taylor, 2016).

What does the City of Phoenix’s Tree and Shade Master Plan have to do with Phoenix Patio Systems? Phoenix Patio Systems has been in the shade business in the Phoenix Metro area for over 26 years, offering a variety of engineered shade products such as: Aluminum patio covers, both solid and lattice styles, Aluminum carports, window awnings and privacy screens to help shade your home or office and block out the suns damaging UV rays.  Our shade structures not only add value to your home or business, but will help reduce energy costs. Most of our products come with a Manufacturers Limited Lifetime Warranty. Since there may be some major changes taking place in regard to zoning and the overall engineering of shade structures in the near future, we will be keeping a close watch on the progress of the Master Plan.  Give Phoenix Patio Systems a call today and schedule your free estimate to start shading your world!



City of Phoenix. (2016, Aug 18). Tree & Shade. Retrieved 8 18, 2016, from City of Phoenix:

Hall, L. (2010, Feb 2). Tree & Shade. Retrieved August 18, 2016, from City of Phoenix:

Taylor, M. (2016, Jul 29). The plan to shade 25 percent of Phoenix. Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Retrieved Aug 31, 2106, from