It's sad to see trees get butchered as a result of poor planning. When planting new trees make sure that you allow enough room for the tree to grow to its full size without causing problems. Here is an example of an apartment complex in Asheville that planted trees too close to the buildings.
They cut about 20 trees in half, eliminating the side next to the buildings. As you can see in this picture, it looks like all the weight is on one side. As a result, this tree will die much sooner than if it had been planted in the correct location.