Imagining a Cooler City

Urban Planning

A street, sidewalks, buildings, trees all the ingredients of a typical urban landscape. It’s possible to deconstruct it and think about its elements in a new way. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Heavers: An urban planner is someone who thinks about and tries to design for the vision of the city of the future, as well as deal with some of the more practical problems that cities face today.

Urban planner Nathan Heavers. We spoke on a street in Alexandria, Virginia.

Heavers: I look at the city as composed of systems. I’m thinking about all of the interconnected parts of the city and how they relate to each other within it. So, some of the systems are the water system, the traffic system, the systems of the buildings, and the system that I tend to look at more than others is the vegetated system the trees of the city. From my perspective, I see the green system as part of the structure of the city. So, the trees are a canopy over the street and the sidewalk something that actually helps to moderate the climate that we experience as we’re walking down a street.

Heavers: One of the things that trees can do to help our cities is to cool the temperature down. If we go west 50 miles toward the base of the Shenandoah Mountains, for instance, it will be significantly cooler, even without the elevation change, because of the tree cover that’s in an area like that. Come to the city, the temperature will be about 10 degrees hotter on any given summer day, and having a canopy of 35, 40 percent trees in the city will do a lot to keep the climate livable.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

Imagining a Cooler City

Canopies of trees helps to moderate an urban climate.
Air Date:03/26/2018
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Transcript:

Urban Planning

A street, sidewalks, buildings, trees all the ingredients of a typical urban landscape. It's possible to deconstruct it and think about its elements in a new way. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Heavers: An urban planner is someone who thinks about and tries to design for the vision of the city of the future, as well as deal with some of the more practical problems that cities face today.

Urban planner Nathan Heavers. We spoke on a street in Alexandria, Virginia.

Heavers: I look at the city as composed of systems. I'm thinking about all of the interconnected parts of the city and how they relate to each other within it. So, some of the systems are the water system, the traffic system, the systems of the buildings, and the system that I tend to look at more than others is the vegetated system the trees of the city. From my perspective, I see the green system as part of the structure of the city. So, the trees are a canopy over the street and the sidewalk something that actually helps to moderate the climate that we experience as we're walking down a street.

Heavers: One of the things that trees can do to help our cities is to cool the temperature down. If we go west 50 miles toward the base of the Shenandoah Mountains, for instance, it will be significantly cooler, even without the elevation change, because of the tree cover that's in an area like that. Come to the city, the temperature will be about 10 degrees hotter on any given summer day, and having a canopy of 35, 40 percent trees in the city will do a lot to keep the climate livable.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.