Data Insights – Part One

I have been digging through the Lewisham Tree Data in order to try and discover some useful insights.

The data published by the Council contains information on Ward, Geographic Location (Easting / Northing), Age, Condition & Height but unfortunately contains nothing about ‘where’ the tree is located, e.g. whether the tree is in a park or cemetery, on a street or in another Council owned location. As this campaign is concerned primarily with street trees my first step was to enrich the data to include these categories.

To analyse and present the data I am using an excellent tool called CartoDB which allows location data to be imported, queried & mapped. In order to allocate the different categories (Park Trees, Street Trees, Other) I imported the Lewisham Tree Data as well as ‘shapefiles’ containing London’s parks, recreational areas & roads (available via OpenStreetMap).

The exact details are fairly technical (& will be saved for another blog) but the logic I applied is as follows:

  1. If a tree is within a park, cemetery, recreation ground, pitch or allotment then it is a ‘Park’ tree
  2. Otherwise, if a tree is within 12 metres (determined by trial & error) of the centre of a road then it is a ‘Street’ tree
  3. Otherwise it is categorised as ‘Other’

The outcome of this can be seen by applying the new ‘Category’ filter on the map :

Now that each tree has a category, queries can be run to look at things like:

  • % Street Trees vs % Park Trees
  • Street Trees per ward
  • Street Trees per square kilometre

Street Trees per square kilometre

The first of these that I tackled was looking at the number of street trees per square kilometre for each ward and the results are as follows:

        Trees per km²
Ward Area (km²) Tree Count Trees per km² Park Trees Street Trees Other
Downham 2.39 691 289 104 120 65
Bellingham 3.08 2217 720 457 184 79
Whitefoot 2.23 1449 650 407 224 19
Grove Park 2.42 1577 652 310 269 72
Rushey Green 1.77 1365 771 367 280 124
Ladywell 1.61 2076 1289 993 280 17
Crofton Park 1.7 812 478 28 374 75
Lewisham Central 2.08 1746 839 164 396 279
Catford South 1.89 936 495 8 441 46
Evelyn 1.77 2203 1245 429 502 313
Brockley 1.68 1399 833 201 529 102
Forest Hill 1.83 1772 968 88 577 303
Lee Green 1.78 1259 707 22 579 106
Blackheath 2.32 2146 925 11 600 315
New Cross 1.81 1691 934 68 606 261
Sydenham 1.75 1857 1061 124 658 279
Perry Vale 1.68 2009 1196 253 661 282
Telegraph Hill 1.54 2018 1310 245 775 290

(NB. Table sorted from least to most street trees per square kilometre)

As shown, Downham is at the bottom of the list for ‘Tree Count’, ‘Tree Count per km²’ and ‘Street Trees per km²’. Rushey Green and Catford South are doing slightly better but are still in the bottom half of the table, with almost 1/3 and 1/2 as many street trees as the top of the list, Telegraph Hill.


I’m uncertain if ‘Street Trees per area’ gives the best measure to compare the different wards therefore I am going to keep digging into this dataset to see what other insights I can find – more to follow.


Interactive Street Tree Map – Work in Progress

As mentioned on Twitter last week, I have discovered some tree data from Lewisham Council so I have been busy trying to map this (not without its challenges as there are ~30,000 data point included in the files).

The map so far is below (styled in the same way as the original map).

(Click on the arrows in the top-left to view fullscreen, click on the trees to view information on species, age, condition etc.).

More to follow this weekend – watch this space!