Study Finds Some Communities Disproportionately Impacted By Heat

Oct 20, 2020

Extreme heat, flooding and worsened air quality will be the most deadly and costly effects of climate change, according to the National Climate Assessment. And these impacts will not affect neighborhoods equally.

"Research has shown time and time again that communities of color and low-income communities will be disproportionality impacted by climate change," says Groundwork Ohio River Valley Co-Executive Director Tanner Yess. Part of this inequality deals with heat. Some areas of the city are literally hotter than others.

Factors such as fewer trees, green spaces and far more heat-retaining surfaces cause higher temperatures. Little greenery and a high number of impervious surfaces create a hotter area and less space for rain to infiltrate naturally. Neighborhoods like these have fewer resources to bounce back from the damaging effects of heat and flooding.

Now Groundwork is partnering with the city of Cincinnati's Office of Environment and Sustainability (OES) to work directly with neighborhoods to equitably plan for Cincinnati's green future.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the effects of heat on Cincinnati's neighborhoods and the Urban Heat Islands project are City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability Climate and Community Resilience Analyst Savannah Sullivan; Groundwork Ohio River Valley Co-Executive Director Tanner Yess; and Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab Founder Vivek Shandas, PhD. Dr. Shandas is also the co-author on a study looking at the effects of historical housing policies on urban heat exposure.

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