Friday, December 30, 2005

The Dallas Rooftop Society

I don't know what else to call it, but in the coming year, I intend to start canvassing the radio and media guys to see what can be done about this:

See that? Isn't that just ass-ugly? It's worse than that, actually. From the 51st floor downtown where I used to work, I could see Ft. Worth on a clear day... but if I looked North-by-Northwest, all I saw was thousands of acres of warehouse roofs. Bare. Soaking up rain and sun damage, and worst of all, turning into a giant heat-collector during the summertime, superheating the air all around it. What happens then? You get a giant high-pressure bubble that doesn't let in an ounce of wind, and seals in the heat and pollution on top of a million-plus people just aching for relief on a 90-plus day that can easily get up to 110 in the parking lot or during one of the harder droughts.

It doesn't have to be like this. Sure, North Texas is hot, but not that hot. We're all a bunch of pansies compared to what the Arizonans go through. But that heat bubble kills us each and every summer, turning what ought to be damned near a paradise into a months-long scurry from AC unit to AC unit, like roaches fleeing from the kitchen light.

And the solution is technically simple, but fiscally and legally complicated: find a way to convince the building-management firms that it's legally safe and financially in their best interest to put plants up on the roofs. They don't have to be big, and it's better if they weren't... bushy crepe myrtles and hybrid native roses (you know, the plants that even God can't kill?) would do just fine. And you wouldn't have to do the whole city to get an effect, either: it's the warehouse district that sits right in the path of the winds that ought to be coming through Dallas... break the edge of the heat bubble, especially in conjunction with the Trinity River Project, and it would break up into smaller, more easily-manageable areas to green up, since much of the rest of town actually has some green to speak of.

And then, summertime would have an actual breeze now and then, and with twice-a-year crepe myrtle and rose blooms, would go from being an overheated eyesore, to something you could actually put on a postcard and write home about.

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