Planting over past mistakes – UMW expert explains that it is time to undo poor urban planning to make our cities cooler

Planting over past mistakes – UMW expert explains that it is time to undo poor urban planning to make our cities cooler Planting over past mistakes – UMW expert explains that it is time to undo poor urban planning to make our cities cooler

June 16, 20212 min read
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America in the 1950’s was all about building highways to pump up the post-war economy and make sure everyone could criss-cross a connected America by car.

Urban planners didn’t hesitate to bulldoze neighborhoods that were in the way of this progress. However, history shows that most of those communities that were destroyed housed Black and lower income residents. The result left areas with hot pavement, few green spaces and little tree canopy to provide shade.


Recently, UMW’s Pamela Grothe joined the host of With Good Reason to talk about how America needs to undo these past mistakes and make better choices. Grothe recently worked with Jeremy Hoffman, chief scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia, who also appears on the episode, and UMW 2021 graduate Allison Grant on research that explores how redlined communities in Richmond, Virginia, designed to keep Black residents in less desirable neighborhoods, show records of being significantly hotter over the last 30 years than white neighborhoods, which has resulted in more heat-related health issues for Black and lower income residents.


Aside from jumping in a pool, trees are our best bet to cool summer heat. Pamela Grothe says we have to be intentional about putting trees in the right places.




If you’re a journalist looking to learn more about this topic, then our experts are here to help.


Dr. Pamela Grothe is an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences as the University of Mary Washington, who earned a Ph.D. in the Paleoclimatology Lab at the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department at Georgia Institute of Technology. She’s an #expert in climate change and is available to speak with media – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.



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  • Pamela Grothe
    Pamela Grothe Assistant Professor

    Dr. Grothe's research focuses on climate change.

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