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When adding green space reduces urban heat—and when it doesn’t

Planting trees and other vegetation is often touted as a solution to mitigate the urban heat island effect—the tendency for cities to be a few degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas. But this strategy won’t be effective in every city, a new study suggests.

In dry cities like Phoenix, Arizona, and temperate ones like London, England, adding green space is likely to be a great way to reduce the urban heat island effect. But in wet, tropical cities – including some of the world’s fastest growing cities in Africa and Southeast Asia – it may not be.