Finding shade isn’t always easy in Dallas, Texas. Though home to one of the nation’s largest urban forests—the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest—there’s a dearth of trees in the rest of the city. At the same time, the urban heat island effect has made Dallas one of the fastest-warming cities in the United States. “If we continue to add impervious surfaces and remove trees, we could have an urban heat island that covers almost half the city,” said Matt Grubisich, director of operations and urban forestry at the local Texas Trees Foundation. That’s why earlier this year, volunteers spread out across the barren sidewalks of Oak Cliff, one of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. With shovels and pick axes in hand, they began digging. The goal is to eventually plant 1,000 trees; so far, some 500 saplings are in the ground as part of a project called Cool and Connected Oak Cliff.Planting trees is a common low-tech solution to battle the heat island, but high temperatures are just one target of this ambitious project. Using sophisticated data and GIS technology, it also aims to harness the many other benefits of trees, from improving public health to taming traffic on the […]

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