Back in 2011, Los Angeles resident and landscape designer Brent Green was driving home from work along a route he doesn’t normally take. As he neared his home, he noticed about 25 guys in orange uniforms doing landscape work in a freeway berm. It was 7 pm on a Friday, a little late to be working, but that wasn’t the strangest part: it was in a piece of land that was overgrown and never received much attention. Green then realized what was going on. They were stealing trees.

And the amount of the palm trees they were stealing? About $20,00 each.

But Palm theft is not as uncommon as you may think. Reports of this lucrative economy have appeared in San Diego and Texas. But to understand the value of the tree, you have to delve into the Western imagination, which 99% Invisible, a podcast focused on urban design, explores. Read More