It's Not Your Imagination, Dallas Is Getting Hotter — And Here's Why

by Janette Monear and Ed Heffernan
Jan 9, 2018 9:25 AM ET
Dallas North Tollway splits Legacy West (left) and Shops of Legacy (right) in Plano. (Vernon Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Originally published on Dallas Morning News

Dallas is hot. But the favorable economy brings with it a hotter issue: urban heat. In fact, among cities with a population greater than 1 million, excluding Phoenix, Dallas is heating up faster than every other city in the country.

Traditionally, economic growth and environmental sustainability have been at odds. In Texas, we tend to adopt a "growth first" attitude, and then worry about environmental and lifestyle impacts later. But the 2017 Dallas Urban Heat Island Management Study from the Texas Trees Foundation provides reasons why we need to rethink how we handle the region's growth, building a better balance between the gray and green infrastructures.

The research, funded by Alliance Data and considered one of the most comprehensive urban heat studies in the country, found that more than one-third of Dallas is covered in concrete and commercial and residential buildings. Together, these impervious surfaces form urban heat islands, areas that absorb and then very slowly release the heat from the sun.

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Janette K. Monear is chief executive of the Texas Trees Foundation in Dallas. Email:

Ed Heffernan is president and chief executive of Alliance Data and chairman of Children's Health System of Texas.