Following the recent record heat wave in California, and in support of our partner communities in the state, Zencity’s expert analysts analyzed the main discussion themes. The following data reflects resident conversations across a cohort of 37 Californian Zencity partners.
At the peak of a heat wave, residents are looking for immediate and practical solutions from their local government, such as extended hours in libraries and other recreational facilities where residents can escape the heat and cool off, especially for residents without easy access to air-conditioning. Tips on safely enduring the heat are also widely shared and appreciated.
In the aftermath of a heat wave, discourse tends to focus on long-term solutions and preparedness. Similar to other recurring weather conditions – such as heavy rainfalls, flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes – residents call for programs meant to alleviate the impact of these events, ongoing aid to vulnerable communities, and relevant infrastructure projects (power grid, wastewater systems, roads).
A Global Challenge on a Local Scale
The underlying causes for extreme weather events are anything but local, yet the effects are most acutely felt on a local level – on the roads residents use to get to work, in their homes, schools, and parks. There is a growing understanding that extreme weather events are not a one-off but a new reality.
This realization generates calls for preparedness and proactive measures to mitigate the effects of these foreseeable events– local governments cannot claim to be caught off guard. Residents look to their local leaders to keep the community safe and informed, proactively plan and prepare to provide immediate aid, and think ahead to ensure these events are handled well and resources are available for recovery and mitigation.