Photo by Oskars Sylwan on Unsplash

Throwing shade … at night

Most of us know the heat-reduction benefit of urban trees in daytime spaces.

“Shade equity is part of building a city that works for everyone, and everyone deserves shade,” says Brenna Bell in this “Bike Portland” piece.

What we may not be as aware of is the value of those trees once the sun goes down.

During what they called a “Heat Week Climate Resiliency Ride,” activists from the climate justice group 350PDX wanted participants to learn about “shade equity” and how tree canopy coverage — or lack thereof — impacts people in different parts of the city.

They led a group of about two dozen people from the lower-income Lents neighborhood near the edge of southeast Portland to Colonel Summers Park in the wealthier, whiter Buckman neighborhood in inner southeast, and the difference in greenery was stark to see.

They handed out thermometers. Where there was an unbalanced ratio of pavement to trees, temperatures reached 124 degrees.

“Usually nighttime offers a respite, but in Portland’s urban heat deserts, temperatures remained high all evening. In Lents, it remained 91 degrees at night,” the article states.

In places with more shade, evening temperatures dropped to the 60s and 70s.

You read that correctly.

Urban areas with more trees are cooler at night.

But let’s build more roads and parking lots.

Photo by Oskars Sylwan on Unsplash

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