Alissa Walker+ Your Authors @awalkerinLA I'm a writer, a gelato-eater, and a walker in LA. Urbanism editor at @Curbed. Co-host of @theLApod. More 👧🏼👶🏼 and 🚲🚶🏼‍♀️🚍 on Instagram. Sep. 07, 2019 1 min read + Your Authors

"We wouldn’t need cooling centers if we had healthy neighborhoods."

I now think about this quote, from this incredible story about Baltimore, every time I see the city of LA tweet a list of tips for "staying cool." 

I was telling someone about a story I wrote about LA's tree canopy problem. They looked at me like I was an alien. They lived on the Westside and worked in Santa Monica. So many people do not even understand how "staying cool" could be a problem in LA. 

This story by @samanta_helou vividly portrays the challenges of surviving summer in LA—not just for our unhoused community, but all our vulnerable residents. We don't have many free, public, cool spaces where people can rest and recuperate. 

The city of LA's cooling center page is not helpful—it's just links to search for parks and libraries. And all of those places close at night. It was 85 degrees in my house last night when I went to bed. 

LA County's extreme heat resources are much better. There's a map of cooling centers and the locations are color-coded based on when they're open. And there's a printed list of the locations that's updated regularly which you can download. 

In the Valley, this week's heat has been life-threatening. Yet we are making people who don't have cars and and don't have air conditioning wait at unsheltered bus stops where it's literally too hot to sit. 

You can follow @awalkerinLA.


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