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NYC’s heat-affected neighborhoods will get help from the city this summer

The city wants to bring more plant coverage, among other heat-alieveing measures to more neighborhoods

First Day Of June Brings Sun To New York City After A Rainy May Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The last few days were a not-so-subtle reminder of how terrible New York City can be in the height of summer, and in a stroke of coincidental (or ingenious) timing, Mayor de Blasio has shown up to lend New Yorkers in heat-affected neighborhoods a helping hand.

The city has announced a new comprehensive resiliency program aimed at reducing the impacts of heat in some of the neighborhoods most affected by the summertime rise in temperature. The program will expand on the city’s current heat reduction efforts, like installing rooftops that deflect rather than absorb heat.

Rising to the challenge of quelling hell in NYC calls for a multi-pronged approach. For starters, the city’s allocating $82 million to fund the planting of shade-providing street trees to neighborhoods in the South Bronx, northern Manhattan, and Brooklyn. An additional $16 million will go towards bringing more trees to parks.

The city will also partner with home care agencies to offer home health aides classes on the risks associated with high temperatures and how to identify heat-related illnesses like heatstroke (of which 13 people die on average per year and another 150 are hospitalized in NYC.) The city will also work to collect more accurate data to help assess areas in need of more attention when it comes to minimizing the effects of high temperatures.

The initiative loops into the city’s fight against climate change. The New York City Panel on Climate Change estimates that by the 2050’s, New York City’s temperature will rise 5.7 degrees on average—what that would look like, here—and would experience twice as many days a year over 90 degrees.

The Cool Neighborhoods NYC program is angling to not only promote immediate relief from high temperatures with cool roofs and the ongoing Home Energy Assistance Program to help some New Yorkers pay their air conditioning bills, but also to create more equitable neighborhoods in the longterm fight against climate change.