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Policy Points 3 3
Sally Wittlinger

In a desert city such as Phoenix, summertime heat is a way of life, but how much does the built environment contribute to the intensity of the heat on a summer night? In urbanized Phoenix, nights don’t cool down as much as in the surrounding rural areas and on more and more summer nights, the official Phoenix temperature fails to drop below 90 degrees. Climate plays a huge role in the comfort and quality of life of residents, with numerous implications for tourism, energy demand, water use, and the vulnerability of low-income families. While experts agree that climate change will cause temperatures to rise in the southwestern United States, the growing urban heat island (UHI) is already challenging the livability of the Phoenix metropolitan area by raising temperatures in the urban core.