Unpacking what it means to design safe shade

AGENCY Architecture is located in El Paso, Texas, and our work has focused largely on ideas that shape our border-adjacent desert context, with a particular sensitivity to social issues, ecological instability, and resource depletion. Current work is looking at the Chihuahuan Desert—a unique and uniquely challenged binational territory that crosses the U.S.-Mexico border. Here, climate change is evidenced daily: The combined impacts of climate migration, desertification, and urbanization exacerbate the asymmetric distribution of environmental threats and public health risks to this large (and largely underserved) area. One significant environmental threat is the hidden, subperceptual danger of high levels of ultraviolet radiation exposure, surprisingly high even within shaded conditions in public space.

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