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LA’s Experiment With Cooling Surfaces Is A Success
Last year, the city of Los Angeles installed solar-reflective coating to 10 blocks in the Pacoima neighborhood. The nonprofit that partnered with the city released data showing that ambient air temperatures 6.5 feet off the ground were 1.5 degrees on sunny days and 3.5 degrees cooler on days of extreme heat, according to Smart Cities Dive. Pacoima is a neighborhood without a lot of trees or parks, both of which can have a cooling effect on hot days.
According to the report, the coating reduced heat island effects 25-50% on high temperature days and community members have asked for more coating in the neighborhood. Smart Cities Dive also reports that parents were more willing to let children play outside on hot days and schools let students play basketball outdoors more often.
Governor DeSantis Blocks $349 Million In Biden Energy Funds
Governor Ron Desantis is refusing to spend $350 million in funds for energy efficiency initiatives that are part of the Inflation Reduction Act, Politico reports. The governor vetoed $5 million that would have helped set up a program to procure another $341 million in federal rebates for consumers who purchased energy efficient appliances. If Florida does not apply for the funds, the money can be reallocated to other states. The state’s energy office had requested the funds and the legislature approved it before the veto. DeSantis separately rejected $3 million in IRA funds to help the state fight pollution, Politico reports. The IRA established that funds must be sent through state departments of energy, giving governors veto power over much of the funding.
Los Angeles Bans Sale Of RVs For Housing
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a law banning the sale or rental of recreational vehicles for use as housing, ABC reports. The city attorney’s office along with other relevant agencies will establish a structure of fines for violating the law. After the vote, council member Traci Park introduced a separate motion that would curtail RV parking around schools, parks, homes and daycare centers, according to ABC.
For many LA residents who have been priced out of rental housing, RVs are a home of last resort. Some cities in California and elsewhere are adjusting to the reality of RV living by providing safe parking spots with water, trash and refuse pickup. But cities have simultaneously cracked down on RVs parked in unsanctioned areas, as Next City has reported San Francisco was doing.
Banks Discriminate Against Black And Latino Small Businesses, Report Shows
A new report by National Community Reinvestment Coalition shows widespread discrimination in small business lending. The coalition sent testers to 34 New York City bank branches to evaluate disparities in small business lending and found that “bank staff were more cordial, affirming and helpful to white customers than to Black or Hispanic ones.” White testers were encouraged to apply for a small business loan more often than Black or Hispanic testers, “by a statistically significant margin.”
The group said it found 51 instances of anti-discrimination law violations in its testing. NCRC said in the report that there were few overt references to race during the meetings between lenders and testers, but that there was significant disparate treatment, ranging from less likelihood of standing up and greeting Black and Hispanic testers to lenders being more likely to discourage Black and Hispanic testers from applying for loans. NCRC recommends more widespread testing, as well as implicit bias training for lenders.
NYPD Stops Ticketing Idling Drivers
Streetsblog reports that the NYPD ticketed just 36 drivers for idling in 2023, which is a close to 99.1% drop from the 6,000 tickets it issued in 2018. Car exhaust emits CO2 and idling can lead to negative health effects in neighboring communities, like asthma. New York City’s ban on idling is over 50 years old and received a brief boost in 2020 when then-Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a campaign with musician Billy Idol, emblazoning billboards with the phrase, “Billy Never Idles.”
Other agencies have a role in enforcing idling, and the city’s department of environmental protection issued summons to tens of thousands of trucks and heavy-duty vehicles for idling last year, but has no jurisdiction over passenger vehicles, which are the majority of violators, Streetsblog reports.
Curated by Deonna Anderson
Many communities across the U.S. are finding is that when affordable housing is scarce, so are teachers. Mother Jones
How students are helping North Philly teens and families fight food insecurity. Billy Penn
The San Francisco Community Land Trust announced that it received a $20 million donation from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott. Press release via SFCLT
If you’re in Richmond, Virginia, join us in-person for a Vanguard keynote address by Ana Edwards, public historian and assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Read more about her talk and register to attend here.
SPONSORED: We’re hosting the Trust for Public Land for a conversation about advancing park equity through systems change across the U.S. Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Learn more and register here.
The Urban Institute and Living Cities are exploring how homeownership can be a path toward a more equitable future. Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Learn more and register here.
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This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice.
Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.