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Prof. Aseem Prakash on Forbes, "Urban Heatwaves Are Worse For Low-Income Neighborhoods"

Submitted by Stephen Dunne on August 18, 2020 - 2:49pm

Prof. Aseem Prakash and colleague Prof. Nives Dolšak on the Forbes web site:

These days, an excessive heat warning was issued for South Central and Southwest Arizona and Southeast California. These events tend to hurt some groups more than others. Those who suffer the most are the poor whom ironically, have small carbon footprints. For example, non-white neighborhoods tend to have fewer trees, and they also have smaller green spaces. Because non-white neighborhoods have higher population densities, on a per-acre basis, places to keep cooler like public parks are five times more crowded in non-white neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods.

Cooling devices are also costly to run. Poor households tend to spend a large percentage of their incomes on energy bills. This is challenging because household budgets are already stretched thin and getting through a heatwave might mean cutting spending on food or healthcare. Further, in the time of COVID-19, when gatherings in enclosed spaces are often prohibited, this shelter strategy might not work. As the world becomes more urbanized, issues such as heatwaves, canopy cover, and green acreage, will require particular attention and leadership by city and county governments.

For the full article please link here.