The urban heat island effect compounds the experience of extreme heat and heat waves, which are intensifying as a result of climate change. This project explores the intersection between extreme heat, mobility, and equity, focusing on cooling solutions that can be integrated into the public right of way.

Alta was hired by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to prepare Urban Heat Island reduction strategies for three neighborhoods in two cities: Long Beach and Pasadena.

Recommendations were informed by a shade assessment and green infrastructure suitability assessment, documenting heat readings in the neighborhoods, and community engagement to learn more about the impacts of extreme heat on residents and their vision for culturally resonant solutions. Alta developed a Cooling Strategies toolkit that will help the two cities prioritize investments within the study areas, and identify typological strategies that can be applied more broadly throughout the cities and the region. The Cooling Strategies Toolkit will be a resource across a wide range of city departments, encouraging greater collaboration, and a tool for developers who are helping implement upgrades to city streets, sidewalks, and alleys.