#CoolMyCity: LA’s Urban Cooling Collaborative

LA just increased its coolness factor by $320,000!

On the heels of a sweltering summer, the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council of the U.S. Forest Service awarded the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC), a national partnership led by TreePeople, a $320,000 grant to fund life-saving urban heat research.

The LAUCC is a unique national partnership between nonprofit groups, universities, government agencies and other experts with a goal to create neighborhood-by-neighborhood prescriptions against heat. The Collaborative is developing the most effective dose of trees plus reflective roofs and surfaces in order to save lives and make LA more livable, both today and in tomorrow’s changing climate.

“Each year, heat kills more people in the U.S. than all other weather-related causes combined — and under-resourced urban communities are at the highest risk,” TreePeople Director of Research, Edith de Guzman said.

During dangerous heat waves, like the ones we’ve seen this summer, LA sees an increase in deaths at 5% compared to cooler days.

In urban areas, extreme heat  is a social justice issue as well. Low-income communities, like those found in the San Fernando Valley and South East LA, and people of color are at highest risk, as they tend to live in neighborhoods with fewer trees, more heat-retaining surfaces, poorly-insulated housing and limited access to air conditioning.

FACT: Due to the rising heat, the San Fernando Valley could see twice as many extreme-heat days by 2050, and with no action, could suffer from a full four months of dangerous heat conditions by the end of the century.

After the completion of the LAUCC’s full $2 million 4-year project, the research will help hold our local government accountable to accelerate the deployment of cool strategies to save lives while simultaneously boosting our economy with green jobs.

We’d like to thank our amazing partners from: the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; UCLA Center for Public Health & Disasters; California State University, Northridge; and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Climate Resolve; and Global Cool Cities Alliance for helping to provide a cooler, greener and safer LA for all future Angelenos.

Want to learn more about the LAUCC? Check out our webpage and download the infographic!

By Edith de Guzman

Edith de Guzman, Director of Research, Natural Urban Systems Group, has been with TreePeople since 2003, where she manages research into best practices for the sustainable transformation of the Greater Los Angeles area. Exploring environmental, social and economic aspects of urban ecosystems, she works to collect and disseminate research that identifies the efficacy, benefits and applicability of various approaches to urban sustainability, with a special focus on watershed management. Edith received a master's in Urban Planning from UCLA and a bachelor's in History/Art History, also from UCLA.