Urban heat mitigation. Heat islands. Lorena Elebee /LOS ANGELES TIMES

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Urban planning professor V. Kelly Turner and ecology professor Travis Longcore for LA Times—SoCal cities desperately need more shade. Is it time to finally ditch palm trees?

UCLA urban planning professor V. Kelly Turner and ecology professor Travis Longcore discuss the role of trees in mitigating urban heat islands for Los Angeles Times.

“As a heat scholar, I look at palm trees and I think that they don’t really do much in terms of heat mitigation. A pole on the side of the street isn’t providing much shade. And a palm tree is kind of similar,” Turner said.

To combat rising heat and strained electric grids, cities must invest in trees and infrastructure to keep people cool. “What happens when the power goes out? You cannot be resilient in an environment where your entire comfort depends on the A/C working,” Longcore said.