Chicago is known for its green spaces. In fact, when it incorporated in the early 1800s, it took as its motto the Latin phrase Urbs in Horto, which means City in a Garden. Today, the Chicago Park District consists of 552 parks including Lincoln Park, one of the largest of any city's parks, which covers 1,200 acres and has over 20 million visitors each year, making it second only to Central Park in New York City in number of visitors.
Though as many who have already dedicated themselves to climate issues know, a familiar cycle of weather my soon become a dim memory. As a result, planners in Chicago are getting ready for a much hotter future.
Public alleyways are being repaved with materials that are permeable to water. The white oak, the state tree of Illinois, has been banned from city planting lists, and swamp oaks and sweet gum trees from the South have been given new priority. Thermal radar is being used to map the city’s hottest spots, which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs. And air-conditioners are being considered for all 750 public schools, which until now have been heated but rarely cooled.