What would cities in the future look like? Of the 100 images depicting cities of tomorrow selected by design website Hongkiat, only a handful feature greenery; in fact, not all of these “green futures” feature gardens, lawns, or trees prominently. The rest were inclined towards tall buildings and intricate architecture, like things straight out of science fiction. Various reports and insights from experts, such as that featured in the news release from the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, disagree.

A BBC report explains that the future city may as well be “a return to our pastoral past” with green architecture, from plant boxes to floating greenhouses, as far as the eyes can see. Already, people, local governments, and urban planning experts are pushing for greener and more sustainable cities, thanks to recent findings. In Orange County, public parks are seen by its inhabitants as an integral part of their communities. Likewise, tree service in Los Angeles is a growing industry, a proof that more households are beginning to understand the value of vegetation in an urban setting.

In Syracuse, New York, a study jointly conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Davey Institute offered more good news to advocates of green cities. Fine particulate air pollution, a cause of many serious health issues, can be greatly minimized by the presence of urban forests. In all 10 major cities studied—Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Syracuse—trees were found to save at least one life each year.

Among the cities, Atlanta best illustrates the assistance trees give in making cities healthier environments. The study showed that the city’s trees removed as much as 64.5 metric tons of particulates 2.5 microns in diameter. It also showed that trees remove more of the larger particulates, around 10 microns in diameter.

Julie Taylor, a master student in Thompson Rivers University in Canada, proved the age-old belief that trees play a major role in intercepting and funneling rain. Along with assistant professor Darryl Carlyle-Moses, Taylor observed that rough-barked trees like ash and red oak were able to take up to six millimeters of rain before transferring the water to the soil, making them ideal for stormy situations. Beyond flood control and mitigating pollution, trees have a calming effect. In Fresno, seven community gardens were put up by the state to help immigrants and refugees cope with depression.

Being in charge of a tree will help people appreciate and understand the value of trees even more. Los Angeles tree trimming company Green Touch Tree Care helps many residents in enhancing the beauty, improving the health, and protecting the value of their trees. Their services cover shade, ornamental, fruit, and palm trees. With professional help from dedicated tree service companies, visions of greener, healthier, and more sustainable cities in the future may become possible.