1H It’s Too Darn Hot Urban Heat Islands and Environmental Justice


Jan-Michael Archer, CEEJH Doctoral Student (Moderator)
Robert Nelson, Mapping Inequality Project, University of Richmond
Scott Krayenhoff, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph School of
Environmental Sciences
Jeremy Hoffman, Affiliate Faculty, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government
and Public Affairs and Center for Environmental Studies, Virginia
Commonwealth University
Lisa McNeilly, Director, Baltimore Office of Sustainability

In 2021, extreme heat events have had dire health consequences in unlikely locations. West Coast cities like Portland and Seattle saw record-breaking temperatures early in the summer, with little respite for the elderly, unhoused, and other vulnerable populations. Studies have shown that in nearly every major city in the U.S., BIPOC communities are exposed to more extreme urban heat than White people. Expanses of concrete and reduced canopy cover lead to concentrated heat in urban centers, producing what is known as the “urban heat island effect.” Because of this phenomenon, cities can vary wildly in temperature on a block by block basis, with the burden of extreme heat falling upon low wealth communities and communities of color. In this session, panelists will discuss the unequal burden of urban heat for communities with environmental justice issues including the lack of salutogenic and climate resilient infrastructure and what actions can be taken to alleviate this burden. What adaptation strategies have been used
to great effect within urban heat islands, and how have historical policies contributed to the health effects that are seen within American cities today.


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