Skip to content
A worker applies a reflective pavement coating to a street in the Pacoima area of Los Angeles on July 19. 

A worker applies a reflective pavement coating to a street in the Pacoima area of Los Angeles on July 19. 

Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

How One Los Angeles Neighborhood Is Guarding Against Deadly Heat

Reflective coating for parks and pavement can reduce temperatures in lower-income areas with limited shade.

As temperatures hit triple digits on a blue-sky July day in the Los Angeles community of Pacoima, families escape the heat at a local park. Many of the surrounding homes lack air conditioning, and the neighborhood’s sparse stands of towering palm trees provide scant shelter from the sun. The streets are scorching, with the asphalt radiating 127° Fahrenheit of heat at noon, according to a temperature reading. An hour later, it rises to 141.8°. 

“It's super-hot here,” says Jeniffer Ramirez, who lives across the street from Hubert H. Humphrey Memorial Park. “We used to have a fall, a spring, a winter. Now it's just like summer the whole year and it doesn’t cool down until after midnight.”