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UnDisciplined: Unveiling the urban oasis — how tree planting combats rising heat in cities

Planting trees can combat rapidly warming urban areas.
Planting trees can combat rapidly warming urban areas.

The world is rapidly urbanizing. And it’s rapidly warming. And one of the places it’s warming the most is in our cities, as a result of the urban heat island effect. But there’s a way to combat this problem, and it’s seems pretty simple — at least at first: just plant more trees.

Mehdi Heris is an assistant professor in Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College in New York, where his research is focused on how to impact urban ecosystems through policy. And several of his recent studies are focused on the beneficial impacts of implementing urban green infrastructure in cities around the world.

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Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling <i>Lifespan</i> with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning <i>Longevity Plan</i> with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, <i>Superlative</i>, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.<br/>