Trees, not asphalt: The $1 billion effort to build ‘cooler’ California school playgrounds

As summer approaches and temperatures soar, one of the most dangerous places for Bay Area students might actually be the playground.

On a hot, sunny day, the asphalt on school playgrounds can reach 149 F, while a rubber mat can reach 165 F, according to UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation. That’s hot enough to cause a third-degree burn. But a little shade can go a long way to help kids cool off.

In an effort to provide more green on Bay Area schoolyards — many of which are expanses of barren asphalt without grass, shade or trees — and lower the impact on students’ health, the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit that works to create parks and protect public land, is campaigning for $1 billion from the state legislature to transform those playgrounds.

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2020 Play area for kids by Satishaa Javali is licensed under Unsplash unsplash.com

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