Houston Matters

Would Houston Exist Without Air Conditioning?

We learn the role air conditioning played in making Houston the massive, sprawling city it is today — for better or worse.



Would Houston exist as we know it without air conditioning?


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Houston's summers can be oppressively hot and muggy. That's why most Houstonians crank up the A/C from June through September, if not most of the rest of the year too. It might not be the most energy-efficient way to go, but many see central air as an absolute must here.

Of course, a century ago, there was no air conditioning. It's hard to imagine living in a climate like this without it, but people got by, though in culturally and economically very different ways.

In the audio above, then-producer Paige Phelps reports on the role air conditioning played in shaping the Houston region we live in today in a report that first aired on Houston Matters in June 2015.

These days Paige works for the public radio show Think on our fellow Texas public radio station KERA.

Houston Heat Weather Sun Hot
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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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