Mapping Detroit: Fruit trees bring summer bounty

Have you made a summer pie yet? Been blueberry picking? This season is the perfect time to locate fruit trees and enjoy their bounty. With focused research on food access across the city, DETROITography is often asked where to find fruit trees and hear residents' stories of gathering fruit at specific locations where clusters of trees are known.

Dr. Dakota McCoy, Stanford Science Fellow in Biology and Photonics, and her team have generously created this cleaned-up dataset from disparate tree sources, allowing us to explore and map the geography of fruit available across the city. 

Detroit has a wide distribution of apple and pear, but also some dense clusters of hackberry or chokeberry, as well as mulberries. The streets are labeled on the map where there are multiple fruit trees. There is an interesting spatial pattern where neighborhoods further from downtown have more fruit trees as well as the line of fruit trees that mark the city’s Westside.

This map noticeably has no cherry trees, which surely must be a gap in the dataset as many urban farms and gardens have fruit trees, specifically cherry trees. However, as far as we know, only Belle Isle has a grouping of cherry trees as part of its landscape design.

Where is your favorite spot to visit fruit trees? Any favorite summer recipes? 
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Read more articles by Alex B. Hill.