Multifamily property developer Marcus Hiles is something of a tree hugger. His firm, Western Rim Property Services, has planted a total of 30,000 trees in the last 10 years, part of a plan to plant 2,500 trees annually.
Hiles says he has personally donated over 59 acres of parkland in efforts to preserve wildlife habitats and offer residents accessible green spaces.
And it's not just about creating more attractive properties. Trees and parks can help reduce energy consumption and improve residents' lives, Hiles says. "The USDA Forest Service trust ‘trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent," he said.
Hiles said he makes sure to include footpaths in every new apartment community he develops, as tenants who take advantage of even mild exercising on the paths enjoy healthier lives.
According to Hiles, a 2008 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests people who live near park areas tend to have a lower risk of obesity; while a 2010 study by the journal Social Science and Medicine concluded people who reside near larger amounts of green space were more relaxed than others who spent less time outdoors.
Trails also promote a sense of closeness among neighbors, with pathways encouraging spontaneous meetings and interactions.
Western Rim Property Services, Inc. develops, owns, and manages apartment homes in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, New Braunfels, San Antonio, and Houston, Texas.