I grew up without air conditioning, but the houses and commercial buildings were built differently. They had huge windows, several feet of roof overhang, floors raised up off the ground, high ceilings, screened porches, you didn’t turn on the lights during the day unless you needed them for a certain task or safety, and on the hottest days we had fans.
None of the schools I went to had air conditioning until my senior year in high school when they built a new library and put air conditioning in the library to protect the books. The students’ comfort was not even considered.
Now we live, work and shop in air conditioned comfort. It is unusual to be in a house or building that is not air conditioned. If I ever get the chance to build a cabin or small house, I hope to make it as energy independent as possible and not have to depend on air conditioning to be comfortable most days.