COOL STREETS: A TOOLKIT FOR SUMMER COOLING IN NEW YORK CITY'S PUBLIC REALM

with Jonathan Cohn, Scott Fallick, Rebecca Milne, Nasra Nimaga, Jennifer Romeo, Asher Salzberg, Mayumi Thais, Lina Wang, and Justin Wolf

Currently, 65,000 Americans end up in the emergency room every year due to heat related illness. And while more Americans die each year from heat waves than any other extreme weather event, our cities are not presently equipped with the resources to deal with rising temperatures in an era of climate change. Cities are typically hotter than their surrounding environs due to the Urban Heat Island Effect. This project explores the causes of rising temperatures in cities and what approaches can be used to cool public spaces, increasing comfort for those using the spaces and providing an opportunity for cooling, free of cost, to vulnerable communities. Heat waves impact urban neighborhoods differently, putting certain underserved populations at higher risk of heat-related morbidity and mortality. By prioritizing the development of cool streets in areas that are highly vulnerable to heat, meaningful change can occur that improves not only the comfort but also the wellbeing of these communities. As a case study, this project analyzed the Myrtle-Wyckoff Plaza at the border of Brooklyn and Queens.