Linda Poon is a staff writer at CityLab covering science and urban technology, including smart cities and climate change. She previously covered global health and development for NPR’s Goats and Soda blog.
I had every intention of going to Artscape in downtown Baltimore last weekend. Then the heat wave came for the East Coast. The running joke is that the outdoor arts festival, billed as one of the largest in the nation, always falls on the hottest weekend of the year. This was the first time it was held in triple-digit temperatures.
Instead, I cranked up my A/C, laid out some snacks, and settled for playing board games.
Braver souls still ventured outside: Artscape was jam-packed, as was the Apollo 50 festival in Washington, D.C. Indeed, as environmental economist Casey Wichman told me earlier this week, “people are still going to go outside when it’s hot out and they’re going to be exposed to extreme temperatures.” (Personally, I hate being indoors when the sun is shining.)
The heatwave we just experienced is the new reality. The sweltering heat will force people to adapt, and in some ways that’s already happening. Wichman found that the heatwave didn’t stop people from going on runs and bike rides, they just adjusted when they did it. That same thing might happen on a larger scale, with regularly scheduled summertime events shifting to other parts of the year when the weather is less extreme.
For now, if you’re in the thick of it, heed those excessive heat warnings. Find ways to stay cool, whether that’s by staying indoors or visiting community pools. Large leafy parks are often some of the coolest places in town, as we see in these urban heat maps of East Coast cities.
The good thing about cities is that there are usually plenty to do indoors, too: Museums, movie theaters, maybe hit up one of those escape room or axe-throwing bars. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with staying home, either.
What we’re writing:
Don’t believe the meme, Breezewood is not “Every Town, U.S.A.” ¤ Speaking of humidity, you ever hear of corn sweat? ¤ Hidden in the temples: the history of Hindus in the U.K. ¤ Where census data is lacking, turn to the local restaurant scene. ¤ It’s probably a good thing that we didn’t build moon cities. ¤ An “architecturally uninspiring” grocery store worth protecting. ¤ When zoos got rid of cages. ¤ How the late César Pelli shaped the skyline. ¤ The ultimate food journey comes with a tall order: save the rail.
What we’re taking in:
Even Spiderman can’t afford NYC. (Market Urbanism) ¤ Dear roomie, you’re much better off with a dog. (New Yorker) ¤ Mooncakes: the pastry of rebels. (Atlas Obscura) ¤ ‘Cause baby, there is a river wide enough to keep me from getting to you. (ARLnow) ¤ Remembering Woodstock ‘99 as a “weird pre-echo of the future.” (Rolling Stone) ¤ Women are the shakers of the recycling industry. (Smithsonian) ¤ Living out the golden years in a ‘gayborhood.’ (Story Corps) ¤ The life of a lone tree in the city. (Fast Company) ¤ Pack your bags! Destination TBD. (USA Today)
View from the ground:
@misterkchung spotted this sunset at the Tacoma waterfront. @zaiahamdi had beach fun at Coney Island. @berkie382 grabbed a bite to eat at Vancouver's Granville Island Market. @tomhklein relaxed at Domino Park in Brooklyn.
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