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Cool Spot Pop-ups Offer Bostonians a Respite from Heat

As a record-breaking number of heat waves pass through Boston this summer, how do you stay cool? New pop-up cooling destinations are places to connect, relax, and get some relief from the heat.

This summer, Sasaki is partnering with the City of Boston Environment Department, the Boston Public Library (BPL), and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, to pilot two outdoor WiFi “Cool Spots” at BPL branches located in neighborhoods that experience disproportionate heat risk: the Egleston Branch in Roxbury and the East Boston Branch.

These sites are serving as community resilience hubs, where the City is providing information regarding heat relief, including materials on how to access free fans and AC units, utility assistance, and other supports through ongoing and existing programs of the City of Boston and its partners. 

Sasaki collaborated with subconsultant Klimaat Consulting & Innovation Inc. on the design and placement of heat sensors on the sites to provide data and education for the Heat Resilience Study, and Landscape Forms donated furniture.

Community Events

During Eastie Week in July, people gathered at the East Boston pop-up for ice cream, games, and storytelling. 

On August 11, from 5-6:30 p.m., the Egleston Branch will be hosting Jazz in the Garden Party, an outdoor concert at the pop-up.

The Next Generation of Designers

The Sasaki Foundation’s Summer Exploratory Experience in Design (SEED), an annual internship introducing young high school students to the world of design, has this year’s cohort designing their own cool spots.

The students visited the pop-up at the Egleston Branch as a jumping-off point to learn more about heat resilience and to begin forming their own ideas. Associate principal and Sasaki Foundation Board member Laura Marett, along with Sasaki senior associate Diana Fernandez Bibeau, SEED teaching assistants, and Liz Cormack, 2021 Summer Fellow, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM), chatted with the students about the cool spot initiative. Follow the Sasaki Foundation on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates throughout the summer.

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