The Society of Municipal Arborists has selected the Yellowwood (Cladastris kentukea or C. lutea) as its Urban Tree of the Year for 2015.
It is certainly one of the greatest trees and should be used far more often by designers. It's becoming more popular as a street tree, likely because it's relatively pest free and does well in city conditions as long as it gets enough water.
This tree can also be used as a specimen in residential settings, as long as the yard is big enough. Yellowwood can reach heights of 50 feet or so with a similar spread. Best of all, it has lovely foliage and sweet-scented, pure white pea-like flowers that appear in long panicles in spring -- a spectacular show in any setting. The leaves turn a nice yellow in fall, and the smooth gray bark is similar to that of a beech tree. A cultivar to consider is 'Perkins Pink', with panicles of pink flowers.
The tree is also native to eastern North America, so it's a good choice for those who favor sustainable gardening. According to the SMA, judicious pruning may be necessary when the tree is young to contain what they call "a maddening branching habit," but they say the tree's favorable attributes far outweigh that one idiosyncracy. I surely agree.