WATCH: Why It's Usually Hotter In A City The way we design and inhabit cities is making them retain heat.
NPR logo WATCH: Why It's Usually Hotter In A City

WATCH: Why It's Usually Hotter In A City

The way cities are designed and inhabited can make actually make them hotter. So what's the solution? We explore a few ideas for beating the urban heat.

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In the summer, the temperature in New York City is about 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in its surrounding areas, according to NASA. That is not unusual. Cities are often warmer than their suburbs because of a phenomenon called "the heat island effect." The way a city is designed — the building materials used, the way streets are arranged, the lack of canopy — can actually sequester heat.

More than half of the world's population (and growing) live in cities, so interest in figuring out how to cool them down might be growing, too.