HOT! HOT! HOT!

It’s 90 degrees plus, and besides Mother Nature turning up the temperature, Manhattan itself is an “Urban Heat Island.” Find out what that is, and what plans are underway to keep us all cool when it gets hot.

Aired on August 2, 2017 amd June 15, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> ALL THIS TALK ABOUT THE HEAT GOT US THINKING HERE AT 'METROFOCUS' WHY IS IT THAT HEAT WAVE OR NOT IT SEEMS TO BE HOTTER IN THE CITY THAN ANYWHERE ELSE?

AS IT TURNS OUT THERE'S A REASON.

IT'S CALLED THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND AFFECT.

JENNA SAT DOWN WITH NATURE CONSERVE AND ASKED HIM WHAT THAT IS ALL ABOUT.

THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND AFFECT IS ON A HOT SUMMER'S DAY TEMPERATURES IN NEW YORK CITY, FOR EXAMPLE, BECAUSE OF OUR BUILDINGS, THE AMOUNT OF PAVEMENT, THE DARK RUSE THAT WE HAVE, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE LIVING HERE, TEMPERATURES HERE IN THE CITY CAN BE ANYWHERE FROM 10, 15 TO 20 DEGREES HOTTER THAN THEY WOULD BE IN THE SUBURBS OR OUT IN RURAL AREAS.

WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS WE NEED TO GET ON TOP OF THIS.

WE NEED TO FIND WAYS TO ABATE THIS.

THIS IS ABOUT QUALITY OF LIFE AND IT CAN KILL AND MAKE SICK LARGE NUMBERS OF THE POPULATION.

WHAT ARE THOUGHTFUL SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS AND ELIMINATING THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND AFFECT.

DOES THIS RELATE TO GLOBAL WARMING?

IT DOES.

WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IS A HEAT WAVE IS ANY SERIES OF THREE DAYS OR MORE THAT ARE 90 DEGREES OR MORE.

WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE AND MORE OF THAT WITH CLIMATE CHANGE IN GLOBAL WARMING.

WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO ADDRESS THIS THREAT NOW SO THAT WE CAN BETTER PROTECT OUR PEOPLE AND HAVE A MORE LIVEABLE CITY.

I'M SURE EVERYBODY IN NEW YORK WOULD ALREADY SAY WE KNOW HOW HOT IT IS BUT FOR SOMEONE WHO IS NOT IN THE AREA, IF IT'S AN ISLAND, HOW DOES THAT COME INTO PLAY WITH THE HEAT?

IT SHOULD BE COOLER BECAUSE WE HAVE THE WATER?

THE NUMBER ONE INDICATOR ABOUT WHERE YOU GET HEAT IN THE CITY HAS TO DO WITH VEGETATION.

YOU'RE RIGHT.

THE FACT BEING ON THE COAST IS HELPFUL.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE IS LOOKED AT MAPS OF WHERE THE PARKS, ARE THE TREES, WHERE ARE THE GREEN SPACES AND WHERE DO YOU HAVE THESE SPIKES OF HEAT IN THE SUMMERTIME.

YOU SEE THIS VERY CLOSE CORRELATION WITH LACK OF VEGETATION AND TREES TO HIGH HEAT.

WHAT WE'RE SUGGESTING IS NATURE HAS A BIG ROLE TO PLAY IN SOLVING THE URBAN HEAT HIGH ISLAND AFFECT.

WHAT ROLE IS THAT NATURE IS GOING TO PLAY?

WE'RE LOOKING AT A COUPLE OF THINGS.

CAN WE CREATE MORE PARKS, MORE GREEN SPACES?

THAT WILL BRING DOWN MORE HEAT.

ALSO JUST BUSHES AND TREES ALONG STREETS.

THEY ARE GOOD FOR PROPERTY VALUES BUT THAT SHADE PROVIDES SUCH A COOLING AFFECT.

THEN THE OTHER POSSIBILITY IS GREEN ROOFS.

30% OF THE CITY IS IN ROOFS.

IF WE COULD START PUTTING MORE VEGETATION UP THERE AND CREATING LIVING SPACES WHETHER THEY ARE GARDENS OR JUST TREE AND GRASSY AREAS, THOSE ARE ALL THINGS THAT WILL HELP BRING DOWN SUMMERTIME TEMPERATURES.

ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THE MAYOR'S OFFICE IS LOOKING INTO?

THEY ARE.

IT'S NOT JUST QUESTIONS AROUND CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESILIENCY, BUT IT'S ALSO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.

THIS IS A BIG HEALTH RISK.

TYPICALLY IT'S YOUNGER AND OLDER PEOPLE AND FOLKS WITH CHRONIC ILLNESSES THAT SUFFER THE MOST.

IT JUST MAKES LIFE HARD SO HARD FOR EVERYONE.

THE IDEA IS WHAT CAN WE DO.

IS IT AROUND NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE WHICH WE THINK WE'LL HAVE A ROLE IN TREES AND PARKS BUT THINGS AS SIMPLE AS PAINTING ROOFS WHITE.

IT'S A DARK, BLACK ROOF THAT ABSORBS ALL OF THAT HEAT FROM THE SUN.

WHEN YOU PAINT A ROOF WHITE, IT REFLECTS THE HEAT BACK OUT INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.

I'M SURE IT WILL BE A COMBINATION OF TREES, BUSHES AND PARKS AS WELL AS HOW WE GET SMARTER WITH A OUR ROOFTOP SPACES THAT WILL HELP THE CITY.

WHAT DOES THE AVERAGE NEW YORKER DO TO HELP ALLEVIATE THE HEAT?

THE FIRST IS DO ANYTHING YOU CAN TO REDUCE CLIMATE CHANGE.

IF WE CAN REDUCE EMISSIONS THAT'S A SOURCE OF THE CAUSE.

WHERE EVER YOU LIVE IN THE CITIES ARE THERE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A STREET TREE AROUND YOUR BUILDING OR HOME?

ARE THERE AN OPPORTUNITY WHERE YOU LIVE IN SHARE BUILDING OR INDIVIDUAL FAMILY DWELLING TO CHANGE THE COLOR OF YOUR ROOF TO ALLOW HEAT TO BE REFLECTED OFF.

THEN JUST STAYING AWARE.

WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT IS IT'S OFTEN SOME OF THE LOWER INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE IT'S REAL PROBLEM.

HELPING SUPPORT THE MAYOR.

THERE'S A BIT OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ISSUE WHERE WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE THE MOST THREATENED GET THE ASSISTANCE AND INVESTMENT THEY

I WOULD WONDER IF THERE WOULD BE ANY NEW LAWS OR SOMETHING PASSED TO GO ALONG WITH THIS TO FORCE PEOPLE.

LET'S FACE IT, SPACE IN MANHATTAN IS LIMITED.

IT IS.

WE HAVE SEEN THINGS HISTORICALLY AROUND REDUCING EMISSIONS BY CHANGING THE KINDS OF FUELS WE USE IN BUILDING.

HOW CAN WE GIVE BUILDERS AND NEIGHBORHOODS AND PROPERTY OWNERS MORE INCENTIVE TO DO THE RIGHT THING THROUGH TAX CREDIT OR OTHER THINGS.

THAT'S WHAT I WOULD LOVE TO SEE IS A POLICY STRUCTURE THAT HELPS PEOPLE MAKE GOOD CHOICES AND MAKE THOSE CHOICES EASIER FOR THEM TO BRING NATURE BACK, DO THINGS LIKE PAINT ROOFS WHITE AND MAKE THE CITY MORE LIVABLE FOR ALL OF US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AGAIN.

IT WAS A PLEASURE.

IT'S ALWAYS GREAT TO BE HERE.

GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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