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L.A. painting sidewalks white to help keep the city cool

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 16:01 - LA is taking a somewhat low-tech approach to tackling the problem of urban heating.

Starting last May, crews have been painting a white coating onto roads to prevent them from absorbing heat.

"Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement issued in the summer.

READ: Six civilizations destroyed by climate change

"It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy – and it is not debatable or negotiable. This is an urgent challenge, and it’s much bigger than one person."

Black asphalt can absorb a lot of heat in the summer months, sometimes climbing as high as 71C. That can cause urban areas to warm up faster than other spaces, creating a phenomenon that's referred to as the urban heat island effect.

The city is using a coating called CoolSeal which, according to the company's website, can reduce surface temperatures by 10 to 30 degrees (Fahrenheit), depending on the conditions.

The city is footing the bill for the project, which costs approximately $40,000 US per mile.


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