Warehouses vs. Urban Gardens: L.A.’s Own Urban Heat Island Effect

It’s hot out there, and one of the reasons it might get even hotter in the years to come in LA, is the continuing push to pave even more of the little green space we have. When Judge Helen Bendix ruled against the South Central Farmers, and developer Ralph Horowitz once again indicated his preference for warehouses over green space, it was also a victory for the urban heat island effect. In 1967, an article in Scientific American first raised the concern that certain characteristics of urban development caused temperatures to rise in urban areas. In the summer, researchers have pointed out that we might be as much as five degrees hotter in Los Angeles due to our hot roofs and pavements, and the lack of vegetation, green space, and trees. More freeways and more black top, more diesel trucks and more warehouses have all kinds of environmental consequences, including forcing us to bake even more in the sun. More gardens, more trees, different strategies for development could begin to cool us down. Too bad the tendency always seems to go in the direction of more, not less heat.

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Bob is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute. He is the author and co-author of twelve books and numerous other publications, including Food Justice with Anupama Joshi (MIT Press, 2010), Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City (MIT Press, 2007), The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City with Mark Vallianatos, Regina Freer and Peter Dreier (UC Press 2006); Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement (Island Press, 1993); A Life of its Own: The Politics and Power of Water (HBJ 1989), and Environmentalism Unbound: Exploring New Pathways for Change (MIT Press, 2001). He is also the editor of two MIT Press series, “Urban and Industrial Environments” and “Food, Health, and Environment.” A long time environmental and social justice activist, Bob Gottlieb has been engaged in researching and participating in social movements for more than 50 years.

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Posted in Built Environment
One comment on “Warehouses vs. Urban Gardens: L.A.’s Own Urban Heat Island Effect
  1. To get an idea of how much green LA will really lose with the destruction of the farm, check out the Windows Local Live map of the farm here:
    As you zoom out you can see how little green there is in the area, besides the garden.

    Another good aerial view of the farm can be found on the CityServer! map here:

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