25 July 2014
A new report by Arup examines how hot weather affects cities, including the impact on people’s health. It follows a presentation in the session B2 “New methods and action plans for climate-related heat and health risks” at Resilient Cities 2014, where initial results had been presented.
The ‘Reducing urban heat risk’ report is the result of a collaborative research project between Arup, the Greater London Authority (GLA), the London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP), University College London (UCL) and the London Borough of Islington.
The project identifies ‘triple risk hot spots’ which are the areas and buildings where the most vulnerable people – the very young, older people or those with a chronic disease – could be at greatest risk.
Arup assessed the urban heat risk in London by using available data to create profiles of areas, buildings and people at risk. The report found that some of the most vulnerable people were at the highest risk in high-rise buildings, in densely built-up areas, in more deprived, noisy and polluted neighbourhoods.
“London has recently experienced some very hot weather that has affected the health and comfort of people living in the city, especially in central London boroughs. The kinds of temperatures experienced during the heatwaves of 2003 and 2006 are twice as likely to occur by 2050 due to climate change; so it is more important than ever that we identify those areas and buildings where people’s health is at most risk from high temperatures and develop targeted responses to reduce the risks.”
— Polly Turton, Senior Consultant in Advanced Technology + Research, Arup
The London Borough of Islington was selected as the pilot area for study within London but the data and recommendations from this project are relevant for other London boroughs and cities around the world.
Cities are usually warmer than their rural surroundings, a phenomenon known as the ‘urban heat island’ effect, and high temperatures in cities have a direct impact on human health.
Studies show that air temperatures and land surface temperatures in cities can be reduced by between 2–8 °C as a result of the shading and evapotranspiration provided by trees and green spaces, and the report makes a number of recommendations to registered social landlords, residents, planners, developers and government officials on how to alleviate the risk in urban areas.
Please click here to view the report for more information about the research project, and to view the ‘triple risk hot spot’ profiles and recommendations for reducing the threats.
Originally published at www.arup.com
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability