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ASU researchers helping Tempe deal with extreme-heat events

ASU researcher helping Tempe mitigate extreme heat by studying types of shade.
July 19, 2018

Projects are investigating urban planning, shade to mitigate heat for pedestrians

It’s predicted to be 116 degrees in Tempe on Tuesday. Scorching.

That kind of extreme heat is a dangerous annual stress on city resources. Last year, the Tempe Fire Department responded to 141 calls for heat-related emergencies. There have been 84 heat-emergency calls so far this year.

So, Arizona State University researchers are working with the city of Tempe on ways to mitigate the effects on the people who live here. A teamCoseo, Middel and Hondula all are senior sustainability scientists in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. from the Urban Climate Research Center has several projects happening now, which the city discussed in a press conference on Wednesday.

Paul Coseo, an assistant professor of landscape architecture in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, researches urban climate design, which is the idea that cities should be designed more intentionally.

Paul Coseo, an assistant professor of landscape architecture, is working on a project with the city of Tempe to holistically address weather extremes. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“I focus on issues here with the urban heat island and the problem we have with the way cities are built,” he said. “Typically we’ve used way too much concrete and that makes our cities hotter.”

He said the answer is a variety of strategies, such as building taller buildings to create more shade or even narrowing the width of traffic lanes to remove concrete and asphalt.

“It’s not just planting trees or converting concrete to native desert. It’s about holistically thinking about the way we build our cities and for me that’s a design question,” he said.

Coseo, who teaches in the Design School, has a grant from the National Science Foundation to look at weather extremes at both ends — by working with Tempe and the city of Buffalo, New York; Erie County and the University of Buffalo. His project will look at how government entities deal with weather, such as whether different departments work together and how policy is implemented.

So are any mitigations the same for both extreme cold and extreme heat?

“That’s the tricky thing — we don’t have enough research,” he said. “We have a lot more on how the way we build our cities affects extreme heat. We don’t have enough on the cold side.

“People in Buffalo have thought, ‘It’s just cold. What can we do?’"

Ariane Middel, an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, also is working with the city of Tempe on how shade mitigates heat.

“Air temperature does not vary a lot but what varies is how we experience those temperatures and this experience is mainly driven by shade,” she said.

People can feel that it’s 20 to 30 degrees cooler in the shade even though the air temperature is not that different.

Ariane Middel, an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, has designed a mobile weather station to measure how pedestrians experience heat. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Middel has built a mobile weather station that she calls “Marty,” for MRT — mean radial temperature. Marty measures the total radiation that hits the body outdoors, including sunlight and the heat emitted from surfaces like asphalt.

She’s using Marty to measure the benefits of shade at the Rio Salado Arts Park, next to the Tempe Center for the Arts, where the city planted trees a few months ago.

“We’ll be monitoring over the next 10 years to see how the shade benefit increases and also to see how park use increases,” she said.

Middel also is working on a project she calls “50 Grades of Shade,” measuring the efficiency of different types of shade including trees, awnings and buildings.

The results of her studies will help Tempe figure out how pedestrians experience heat at street level.

“Then that will be used to route people along the most comfortable path,” she said.

David Hondula, assistant professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, said that Tempe is a leader in using statistics and research in setting policy to deal with the heat.

“The statistics allow us to dispel myths,” he said. “Forty percent of heat-related deaths have an indoor place of injury. It’s hot outside for all of us and it’s hot inside for many of us.”

He also said that many people think most heat victims are visitors unaccustomed to the climate, but the vast majority are people who have lived in Arizona for many years.

“2016 and 2017 were certainly warm years but the evidence leads us to believe that changes in social-service programs might be responsible for increasing vulnerability,” he said of the countywide death rate.

“We saw an unfortunate increase in the number of unsheltered homeless people in our community between 2015 and 2016, and a corresponding increase in the share of heat-related deaths.”

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said that ASU has run workshops on dealing with extreme weather events for city staff and has connected Tempe with other cities and universities to address the issue.

“Tempe is taking the threat of climate change seriously and we are planning accordingly,” he said.

Stay safe in the heat

The city of Tempe, Maricopa County and Arizona State University researchers provided these tips to stay safe in extreme heat:

• Check on your neighbors. Heat-related illness disproportionately affects older people so make sure elderly people are OK.

• When the temperature is in the high 90s or higher, indoor fans won’t prevent heat-related illness. Stay in an air-conditioned space.

• Never leave children or pets in a vehicle when it’s hot. A recent ASU study found that a car can hit 116 degrees inside after one hour parked in 100-degree temperatures.

• Drink water all day long. Skip sodas or sugary or alcoholic drinks because water is the best hydrator. 

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


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Legalized sports betting could change fan experience, ASU experts say

Legalized gambling likely to change fan experience, ASU experts say.
July 19, 2018

Will loyalty hold up with money at stake?

As legalized betting becomes a force in the sports world, fans will likely experience games in a different way — both in the arena and watching on TV, according to experts at Arizona State University.

The changes could generate more money for teams and athletes but also test fan loyalties.

“The game itself won’t be altered because people were already wagering on sports either legally or illegally,” said Daniel McIntosh, a lecturer in the W. P. Carey School of Business who teaches sports business courses.

“I think most of the changes will be around fan experience.”

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, calling it unconstitutional. Since then, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized sports bets. A private company that tracks states’ gaming decisions predicts that 14 states will offer gambling within two years, with another 18 states — including Arizona — approving it within five years.

Daniel McIntosh teaches sports business classes in the W. P. Carey School of Business.

McIntosh said that betting on sports likely won’t produce enough revenue to drive major changes in each state. Rhode Island, which passed limited betting, estimates it will earn about $23 million from gambling — less than 1 percent of its total $9.6 billion budget.

“If you’re talking about whether this will make huge revenue changes, allowing for expansion of Medicare, Medicaid, Red for EdRed for Ed is the campaign that started at the grassroots level earlier this year to push for more state spending on K–12 education in Arizona., whatever it might be, probably not. There’s not that much revenue at a state-by-state level,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh said he believes sports betting is five to seven years away from legalization in Arizona as the details are hammered out.

“We have a vibrant Indian casino industry and they would have an interest of keeping the sports books limited to their properties and not competing properties,” he said, adding that the taxation rate is another open question.

McIntosh, along with Victoria Jackson, a sports historian and lecturer of history in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, and Ken Shropshire, the first Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport and the founding CEO of the Global Sport Institute at ASU, weighed in on several potential effects of legalized sports gambling.

Fan experience

Legal gambling is about far more than betting on who will win the game, McIntosh said.

“You can bet on every single play,” he said. “In baseball you can bet on every single pitch — will this pitch be a strike or a ball? It takes a fairly monotonous event and turns it into something very exciting.”

McIntosh said that in England, there are betting kiosks in sports arenas and the odds are posted during play.

“Where I’m fascinated is what that does to fan consumption behaviors — the reason people are watching and what that does long term to their affinity as a fan," he said.

Shropshire said that gambling could be a way for teams to sell more tickets.

Ken Shropshire, the Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport, said that athletes already feel pressure from fans due to fantasy sports.

“This comes at a time when leagues are trying hard to find ways to improve the in-game experience and keep people coming to these events as opposed to sitting at home and watching on their flat screens,” Shropshire said.

“I suspect the leagues will embrace this. Maybe you can only bet on the ball rolling off the mound if you’re in the stadium.”

Jackson said that historically, Americans have had a Victorian view of gambling and sports.

“It’s this idea that Americans have clung to about this amateur ideology in sports, and that the idea that money is somehow corrupting,” she said. “It’s why we love collegiate sports so much — they’re not paid to play.”

But she doesn’t expect that negative connotation to gambling to linger.

“People love sports. I don’t think there will be that consciousness when the game starts,” she said. “Think about all the people who normally wouldn’t watch March Madness but watch because they filled out a bracket.”


Jackson said she hopes the leagues will spend some of the additional revenue on independent oversight.

“You need an independent body, like the World Anti-Doping Agency, which, whether or not you think they’re doing a good job, exists as a deterrent to people,” she said.

Victoria Jackson, a sports historian and former professional athlete, would like to see an independent regulatory agency.

“You have to have zero tolerance in place or there’s no incentive to not do it. I would be an advocate of once and done. If you’re caught, you’re out.”

Legalization likely will increase transparency, McIntosh said, which will decrease the corruption that already exists.

“Think of Tim Donaghy and the referee scandalTim Donaghy was an NBA referee who pleaded guilty to federal charges in a betting scandal in 2008 and served 15 months in prison.,” he said. “We can think about Lance Armstrong and cycling. All of those sports are highly regulated and already have corruption. So the more precise question is, will corruption increase or decrease?

“As a percentage, it will probably go down as we have more transparency and oversight.”

McIntosh said that ancillary businesses, such as data-collection and analysis firms, will flourish and also serve as regulators.

“We already have Sportradar and Genius Sports. They have algorithms designed to identify irregular bets than can be indicators of corruption before it happens, such as abnormally large bets on certain events or skewed percentages,” said McIntosh, who has worked on economic-impact studies for the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four and other big events in the Valley.

More money for leagues and teams

Legal wagering not only could add sponsorship opportunities for teams but also present a new way to make revenue when leagues sell their data to analysis firms, which use it for “proposition bets” — wagers placed on individual events during a game.

“No one will argue whether the final score was 102 to 84. That’s a fact,” McIntosh said.

“What they might argue is whether that was an assist or not on the last play. Those scoring decisions are made by the league. The league can pass on the official data that is the source of truth to be used to settle those wagers.”

Individual athletes

Jackson, a former professional runnerJackson was a cross-country and track and field athlete for the University of North Carolina and ASU, a national champion for the Sun Devils at 10,000 meters, and a professional runner endorsed by Nike., sees an upside for athletes in individual sports.

“People in the U.S. are so focused on the professional sports leagues but for athletes competing in individual sports like track and field, this has the potential to inject those sports with more money and popularity.

“Athletes negotiate individual contracts with shoe sponsors and athletic gear, nutrition and tech companies, but it’s a hustle and there isn’t a viable pro track circuit where athletes can make a steady living,” she said.

Will the pressure of millions of dollars on wagering affect individual athletes?

“Players that I’ve talked to, especially big name players, tell me that they already hear from their fans because of fantasy sports,” Shropshire said.

“There are so many ways with fantasy sports to make money that it’s already a form of gambling.”

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News