In Phoenix, the mustard-colored apartment was built as public housing, and it was built more than half a century ago. They are among the hottest spots in Phoenix. It has few straggly trees and metal clothesline poles offering shade in dusty courtyards. The two-story stucco structures in Edison-Eastlake are among the last ones who are halfway through a six-year redevelopment project. The project aims to protect the residents from extreme heat amid a megadrought in the West.
Phoenix has always seen extreme heat, but climate change has made it even hotter. Temperatures in September are still at 43.8 Celsius. Conditions in Las Vegas, some 300 miles to the north, were similar, with 41.3 Celsius. In the 2020 census, it was revealed that the hot weather had not stopped Americans from settling in such places. The two of the five fastest-growing countries in the US are deserted cities. People keep moving to communities as per the population data that are affected by climate change badly.
In Southwest, people are now in the process of re-imagining the environment. Over there, local authorities and infrastructure management authorities have to ensure that buildings and people can bear the heat. Jobs have driven much of the growth. In the desert, Southwest business investments have increased by more than twice the national average every decade as per the census report released in September.
The nation’s five fastest-growing cities, according to a risk index may by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are in countries that are at high risk of natural disaster. The fastest-growing cities include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Houston, Fort Worth and Seattle. The hazards include hurricanes, flooding, wildfires and heatwaves. The people at most significant risk are often in poor and racially diverse communities. In these communities, most houses lack proper facilities to cope with disasters which include heat waves that are more frequent, widespread and severe. Expert says until people recognize that extreme heat is a critical problem, critical changes will not be seen.
The original public housing did not have air conditioners. Swamp coolers were there in older houses; the homes had to be frequently repaired because of their age. Extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths. Global warming causes more than one-third of the world’s annual heat deaths. 200 US cities are included in this and found over 1,100 yearly deaths from extreme heat. The government is being challenged by rising death to protect vulnerable populations and ensure there is enough water for everyone. Drought and increasing summer heat have drained the reservoirs.
Over the past decade, Maricopa County’s population jumped 15.8% as people undeterred by rising temperatures. People left more expensive cities. The census has confirmed Phoenix as the 5th largest with a population growth of 11.2% growth. An increase in population is also seen in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. In Clark Country, people don’t walk outside in the heat unless they have to. The extreme heat primarily affects low-income renters who cannot effort to install solar panels to save energy costs. They have to rely on landlords to fix the broken AC.