Beating the Heat

Curated by Landscape Architecture Foundation

It’s the height of summer – prime time to enjoy the outdoors in many places. In others, the summer heat sends everyone running for air conditioned comfort. From shade structures to water walls to good old trees and swimming holes, here we showcase landscapes that help people keep cool and enjoy the best of the season.

  1. Case Study Brief


    George "Doc" Cavalliere Park

    Scottsdale, Arizona

    “By incorporating a large steel shade structure, this design keeps playground surface temperatures to 82°F or less -- even at noon in the summer, providing a rare, comfortable outdoor play space for summer use.”
  2. Case Study Brief

    63rd Street-After

    63rd Street Beach, Jackson Park

    Chicago, Illinois

    “Two areas of ecological beachfront design flank the existing public beach, creating a stable dune grass system that virtually eliminates erosion. Reducing the open sand area where seagulls loaf has helped reduce the number of swim ban days by 72% and swim advisory days by 62% by reducing E. coli contamination.”
  3. Case Study Brief

    Blue Hole-After

    Blue Hole Regional Park

    Wimberley, Texas

    “What better way to beat the heat than at a beloved swimming hole in the Texas Hill Country? Threatened by development and “loved to death” by overuse, the Blue Hole was turned into a regional park that protects sensitive areas while providing new park amenities for over 30,000 annual visitors.”
  4. Case Study Brief

    Phoenix Civic-After

    Phoenix Civic Space Park

    Phoenix, Arizona

    “This park makes use of passive cooling techniques like the lower courtyard’s water wall, which cools the space as air blows across it. A combination of undulating shade structures and 111 new trees will shade 70% of the site once the trees are reach maturity. On average, summer air temperatures in the park are 1.8°F lower than in a typical urban landscape.”
  5. Case Study Brief


    Carmel Clay Central Park

    Carmel, Indiana

    “This 161-acre park features a 3.5-acre water park complete with activity pools, a lap pool, a diving pool, a lazy river, and water slides. The water park and community center generate over $560,000 in net annual revenue, which covers 90% of the operation and maintenance costs for the entire park. Greywater from the water park is treated onsite in the constructed lagoon and wetland.”
  6. Fast Fact

    “Although combined sewer overflows are the driver behind Philadelphia’s pioneering Green City, Clean Waters program, this study underscores the multiple benefits of green infrastructure. When implemented on a city-wide scale, green infrastructure can have significant impacts on urban temperatures.”

Temperature & urban heat island, Shade structure

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