Chicago Preps for Climate Change

With conservative skeptics in Congress thwarting national action on climate change, states and cities are making moves to address the issue. 

The latest government to step up is the City of Chicago, whose Climate Action Plan acknowledges the reality of rising global temperatures — and readies the city for a warmer future. 

In the first of a series of NYT articles on strategies for adapting to climate change, Leslie Kaufman covers the Chicago plan:

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.

A lot of the work is going into transforming paved spaces, which trap water as well as heat. This Street of the Future graphic shows how the city plans to retool the roads and alleyways that cover 25 percent of Chicago’s surface area.

The groundcover element is like the rest of of the adaptation strategy, as Suzanne Malec-McKenna, the commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment, explains: “A constant ongoing process to make sure we are as resilient as we can be in facing the future.”

(via NYT)

Photo: A city worker tends to a rooftop garden at Chicago City Hall. (Sally Ryan / The New York Times)

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