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A city block just behind the industrial waterfront in Chelsea is typical for urban heat islands across the U.S. Nearly every foot is covered by a roof or pavement. There’s a Boys & Girls Club at one end and a vacant lot at the other. Ten multi-family buildings with parking lots for backyards fill out the middle. A few weeks ago, there were just five small trees.
But this nondescript slice of the state’s smallest city is worth watching. It may become a template as municipalities struggle with longer, more intense warm seasons and heat waves.