Scientists examine urban heat island in low-income areas
ASU's research on the urban heat island and social equity recently was featured in Wired Magazine's article "Environmental Gap Widens in Phoenix."
The Wired story focused on the researchers' findings reported in the journal Ecological Applications from a study funded by the National Science Foundation titled Urban Vulnerability to Climate Change.
The study examined the role of vegetation in urban cooling, particularly in low-income neighborhoods experiencing extreme heat and the role that water distribution plays in heat mitigation.
While an increase in vegetation would ameliorate heat conditions and provide multiple ecosystem services, the authors argue that “vegetation has economic, water, and social equity implications that vary dramatically across neighborhoods and need to be managed through informed environmental policies.”
Sharon Harlan, a sociologist in ASU' School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Chris Martin, a horticulturist in the Department of Applied Sciences and Mathematics in the College of Technology and Innovation, co-authored the journal article with project researchers Darrel Jenerette of the University of California-Riverside and William Stefanov of Jacobs/ESCG at NASA Johnson Space Center, who received their doctorates from ASU.
Citation: "Ecosystem Services and urban heat riskscape moderation: water, green spaces, and social inequality in Phoenix, USA." By G. Darrel Jenerette, Sharon L. Harlan, William L. Stefanov, and Chris A. Martin. Ecological Applications, Vol. 21 No. 7, October 2011.