The stretch of super hot days Philly is experiencing this week could end up becoming the city’s longest recorded September heat wave since 1931, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The built environment, such as dark pavement and a lack of trees, means some Philly neighborhoods can be up to 12 degrees hotter than surrounding areas, per a recent study by Climate Central.
To help cool these areas, Drexel University researchers have been testing out planter benches in five Philly neighborhoods to study the impacts of more shade and vegetation on community wellness. S/O to WHYY reporter Sophia Schmidt for covering this story.
The project began in Hunting Park in 2020. This summer, it expanded to Point Breeze, Haddington, Kingsessing, and Grays Ferry. Each wooden bench seats two people and comes with a detachable patio umbrella. The hope is that the benches will serve as an alternative to street trees.
Kingsessing resident Adrine Wilson told WHYY that the benches have created a space for residents of a nearby senior apartment building to rest while taking walks.
“We get so much heat. We get full sun. So the umbrellas were very nice. Because even when I’m on the porch, if the sun is on this side, I can’t sit outside. But with the umbrella, you can angle it,” she said.