Chicago is planning for climate change

Hi all,

The Bean

Here is another school story where a city is being proactive about planning their future. Climate change experts are predicting dramatic weather changes over the next 50-100 years for Chicago. But rather than just sitting by the way side, they are actively preparing for a new way of life.

Chicago is getting ready for a wetter, steamier future. Public alleyways are being repaved with materials that are permeable to water. The white oak, the state tree of Illinois, has been banned from city planting lists, and swamp oaks and sweet gum trees from the South have been given new priority. Thermal radar is being used to map the city’s hottest spots, which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs. And air-conditioners are being considered for all 750 public schools, which until now have been heated but rarely cooled. (Via the New York Times).

Being that it takes many trees decades to reach a mature state, planting them now helps for the future. The more vegetation a city has the more it helps keep spaces cool. They are actively planting trees and installing innovative plant drainage systems to help with the anticipated storm run-off.

“Cities adapt or they go away,” said Aaron N. Durnbaugh, deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment. “Climate change is happening in both real and dramatic ways, but also in slow, pervasive ways. We can handle it, but we do need to acknowledge it. We are on a 50-year cycle, but we need to get going.” (Via the New York Times).

Learn more about what you can do and read the full NYT article! These sorts of cutting edge ideas are why I want to get a masters in Urban and Regional Planning!


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