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SPARCC Roundup: Heat is Hurting us

What we’re reading

The health impacts of urban heat: The CityLab article We Can Feel the Warmth in the Walls follows one Los Angeles family and documents the health dangers of rising temperatures, particularly in urban communities of color. As heat events increase in length, frequency, and severity, elderly residents, children, and low-income communities are at higher risk. Rising temperatures are exacerbated in cities like Los Angeles impacted by the “heat island effect”, often caused by sprawl with neighborhoods cut off from cooling factors like ocean breezes, and buildings that hold onto heat.

Too Hot to Learn: The 74 published an article covering a recent survey on air conditioning in 45 of the nation’s 50 biggest school districts. According to New York City Councilman Brad Lander, “More than a quarter of the city’s classrooms, about 11,000 classrooms, don’t have air conditioning… on an increasing number of days …it’s just too hot to learn that kids can’t focus and concentrate.” A from Harvard University publication found that student’s test scores fall on very hot days. Students are 12 percent more likely to fail a test on a 90-degree day versus a 72-degree day.

Arts & Culture spotlight: Shelterforce outlines lessons in arts and community development in the Valley Art District in Orange, New Jersey. Valley Arts was created from a CDC affordable housing developer more than a decade ago to use the arts as a tool to revitalize the Valley. Despite growth, challenges remain that are common in arts organizations. Check out the valuable advice on making space for young adult creativity and leadership and working regionally.

What we’re listening to

The Bay Area rapper Gift of Gab’s new single, “The Gentrification Song,” is a poignant critique of the systemic forces displacing low-income and working class communities of color. He asks us in his single:

“They say it’s all to improve, but tell me where communities are supposed to move? When they been living in the trap?… And will the idea of America come to fruition, or is to push the poor away really the real agenda?”

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