J5.3 A Framework to Conceptualize Environmental and Social Vulnerability to High Temperatures in Urban Landscapes

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 4:30 PM
Room 228/229 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Rouzbeh Nazari, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ; and M. Karimi, C. Goins, A. Musilli, M. Ghandehari, and R. Khanbilvardi

Urbanization and the growth of urban population have created an increase in urban heat island (UHI) effect globally. UHI reflects an elevated temperature in cities as compared with nearby rural areas. This is due to the change in landscape from grass covered and vegetative to concrete and asphalt with three-dimensional structures. The excess heat in these urban environments has led to a rise in heat related illnesses in urban environments. There exists an understanding in the change of temperature beginning at a kilometer above the Earth's surface (roughly 9.8 C drop every kilometer) but understanding of the microclimate profile requires more in depth research. As such, a quantitative study was completed analyzing satellite imagery of New York City. The satellite study revealed that increased levels of urbanization, with no methods of heat mitigation, resulted in higher average temperatures within microclimates. From there, environmental risk and social vulnerability needed to be looked at throughout New York City. In order to find target areas for policy change and implementation of mitigation strategies a risk and vulnerability framework has been created to theorize various factors. Three categories of factors were looked at including: people, nature, and building/infrastructure. Each of the factors included more specific parameters to look at; people included income, population, and susceptibility; nature included temperature and vegetation; building/infrastructure included building height and building density. The areas identified as the most vulnerable need to mandate air conditioning or other heat mitigation strategies to protect the health of people in urban areas.
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