Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

City of Austin invests in more shaded structures citywide

Shunya Carroll

Several shaded structures are under construction in public recreational areas within Austin to make the city more heat resilient.

Between May 1 and June 22, Austin-Travis County EMS reported 246 heat-related hospital visits, with officials expecting that number to increase as temperatures get higher.

Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Parks Foundation contributed a combined $4 million to fund the planning and designing of new shaded areas in addition to ongoing construction projects. Designs range from pavilions to added trees and vegetation, according to the Parks and Recreation department.

“Adding shade in parks is one of many strategies to make our recreational amenities more enjoyable during times of heat,” Lindsey Machamer, park development project management supervisor, said in a statement. 

Heat is more intensely felt in eastern parts of the city, according to the Heat Resilience Playbook, a plan outlining different strategies dedicated toward making Austin more heat resilient. Marc Coudert, climate resilience and adaptation manager for the Office of Resilience, said the city wanted to focus specifically on heat resilience in East Austin, where a majority of the structures are under construction. 

“Shade structures have become critical in (combating) rising temperatures while enabling our families to spend more quality time outdoors,” Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, who represents part of the Eastern Crescent, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to see these structures coming to our communities, creating a cooler, more welcoming Austin for all.”

Coudert said people experiencing homelessness or who have fewer resources are most impacted by the heat. 

“There’s definitely a need to better understand the impacts of heat on those with the least amount of resources and try to figure out how to best allocate those resources based on need,” Coudert said.

The playbook outlines plans to expand heat risk education, cooling centers in the city and making public pools and splash pads more accessible.

“There’s a lot of different strategies, and they all need to work together to be able to make a difference,” Coudert said.

More to Discover