Cautionary Tales – Chicago when it hisses

July 1995 Chicago was swept by a deadly heat – the bridges bent; electrical networks are out of order; and there was not enough room in the mortuary, but in some areas more people died than in others. Of course, wealthier and greener neighborhoods were less affected, but poorer neighborhoods were the hardest hit, where social interaction was difficult and loneliness was a problem.

Does the Chicago heat teach us that in the fight against climate change, we need to consider not only physical infrastructure, but also social infrastructure?

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilly with support from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

Sound design and original music by Pascal Weiss. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Thanks to the Pushkin Industries team, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fein, John Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, Danielle Lahan and Maya Koenig.

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Further reading and listening

Eric Klinenberg Heat wave

Mike Thomas”The Deathly Heat of 1995 in Chicago: An Oral History. ” Journal of Chicago

Judy PasternakThe final chapter of Heat Wave is cold, lonelyLos Angeles Times, August 26, 1995

Jane Jacobs Dark Ages Ahead

Mike Thomas”The Deathly Heat of 1995 in Chicago: An Oral History. ” Journal of Chicago

Mike Royko “KILLING HEAT OR MEDIA EVENT?” Chicago Tribune, July 18, 1995

Malcolm Gladwell “Political Heat” New Yorker August 4, 2002

Kopp, Buzan and Huber “A Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity” New York Times June 7, 2015

Alexandra WitzeRacism exacerbates the deadly impact of rising city heatNature July 14, 2021