Arizona’s Social Distancing on Another Level

By Monica Zepeda

As the hot Arizona sun beats down relentlessly on this record holding summer, a common complaint crosses my mind; how can we implement outdoor a/c? A bad joke, but a genuine concern for the unwalkable city of Phoenix. As the auto industry benefits from our daily steamy trek on car dependency, the bags of ruined outfits I have and bad hair days are piling high. Paired together with the arduous journey of a simple walk out of your car to your job; this is the dread-worthy walk of life in Satan’s A**hole Arizona

Our Urban Heat has a particular effect on common surfaces of rising to higher temperatures than normal. With no natural barrier to either, their frequent side effects can have a nasty bite. After my second heat exhaustion spell I was beat, I fell ill for the next whole day. Walking from my parking stop to the front door of the downtown courthouse for work was all it took.

The designs of our wonderful city can be attributed to the meddling of auto companies. There’s rich history in the layout of how far buildings are from one another. We are grid locked by a system on a mile-by-mile basis. The sun shines down without worry of buildings or shade stopping its encroachment. There are no tall sky lines to protect us either. This leads to a road to riches for auto industries and an asphalt to pick and shield ourselves up from. 

Of course, the city could help alleviate this by creating natural shade. It could make tree planting a high priority like parts of Tempe and Scottsdale have. It could kill two birds with one stone and both make the city more beautiful and help counteract the urban heat island effect. Yet for some reason, it never seems to be a priority for Phoenix; cars do…which is unfortunate.

The temperatures continue to warm up and the side effects seem to grow right along with it. The dominance of the auto industry making nothing close by in Phoenix makes the city lack walking about.