“The Urban Poor and Vulnerable Are Hit Hardest by the Heat”: A Heat Equity Lens to Understand Community Perceptions of Climate Change, Urban Heat Islands, and Green Infrastructure

Mahbubur Meenar, Md Shahinoor Rahman, Jason Russack, Sarah Bauer, Kul Kapri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As the global temperature and rapid urbanization continue to rise, urban heat islands (UHIs) also continue to increase across the world. Following the heat equity concept, UHIs disproportionately impact disadvantaged or overburdened communities. Green infrastructure (GI) has been at the forefront of UHI mitigation efforts, including nature-based solutions like parks, pervious open spaces, wooded areas, green roofs, rain gardens, and shade trees. In this paper, we use a heat equity lens to analyze community perceptions of the intersection of climate change, UHI, and GI in Camden, New Jersey—a post-industrial city with a history of environmental injustices. Based on a mixed-methods analysis of survey responses (n = 107), 11 years of relevant X (formerly Twitter) posts (n = 367), and geospatial data, we present community perceptions of and connections between climate change, UHI, and GI and discuss major themes that emerged from the data: perceived heat inequity in Camden triggers negative emotions; a public knowledge gap exists regarding climate change-UHI-GI connections; and perceived inequitable distribution of GI and certain GI planning and maintenance practices may negatively impact UHI mitigation strategies. We argue these themes are useful to urban planners and relevant professionals while planning for heat equity and mitigating UHI effects in disadvantaged urban communities like Camden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2174
JournalLand
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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