Living in lush green neighborhoods has provided the rich with a life-saving advantage over the poor who suffer from sweltering heat in concrete jungles. Transforming green open lands into a maze of buildings and roads of cities provided benefits to all of society, but it also creates urban heat islands that cause illness, death and misery that is disproportionately imposed on poor communities.
Urban heat islands were first described over 200 years ago. Concrete structures create both surface and air urban heat islands of double-digit temperature differentials between cities and rural areas.
For years, the rich bought their escape. A new study reveals it only costs $10,000 to decrease outside temperature by ½ degree Fahrenheit.
One inadvertent “benefit” of climate change is the growing awareness of this phenomenon of “cooking by day and night.” Fortunately, some are working to reduce the devastating impacts of urban heat islands.