Chicago Plans for a Warmer Future

Climate scientists have warned Chicago's planners that the City will be significantly warmer and wetter by the end of theentury. And from street trees to building standards, that message is infiltrating Chicago's planning and design.

Climate scientists say Chicago may feel like Baton Rouge by the end of the Century, so the City's planners are already implementing changes to prepare for a warmer, wetter future.

The City has banned the Illinois state tree (the white oak) from city planting lists, replacing it with southern swamp oaks and sweet gums. City thermal hotspots are getting vegetated roofs and pavement removal. Bike lanes are getting permeable pavement and intersections are getting flood control devices.

Mayor Richard Daley began this process back in 2006, when scientific models and risk assessments showed that projected changes in temperature and weather patterns could have drastic consequences for Chicago - from deaths to property damage to liability and insurance. But if the City began to act quickly and implement changes with the greatest cost savings and benefits, it would be possible to adapt to a changing climate.

Full Story: New York Times

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