Mitigating Public Health Impacts Of Climate Change Induced Extreme Heat Events With Strategic Urban Greening

Mitigating Public Health Impacts Of Climate Change Induced Extreme Heat Events With Strategic Urban Greening
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A new chapter in the Semantic Books series has been published under the title:

Mitigating Public Health Impacts Of Climate Change Induced Extreme Heat Events With Strategic Urban Greening

Jessica Marshall and Albert J. Gabric

School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, 4111 Australia.

Abstract

The likely future increase and intensification of climate change influenced extreme heat events poses a significant public health threat, particularly to those populations most vulnerable. Urban populations, which globally are the fastest growing, are exposed to additional heat stress during such events due to the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon. Urban green infrastructure (UGI) is a network of green spaces, street trees and other urban vegetation including wetlands, rain gardens, green walls and roofs. Strategic implementation of UGI is advocated within urban planning and climate change adaptation literature as an effective and versatile strategy for heat mitigation in urban areas and supported by a growing empirical evidence base. The relationship between UGI and morbidity and mortality associations during extreme heat events has demonstrated some significant outcomes in recent research to further support UGI. For example, recent studies find increasing a city’s vegetation coverage can lead to significant reduction in average seasonal summer temperatures (0.5 to 2°C) together with 5–28% reduction in heat-related mortality rate. Similarly, urban heat-related morbidity has been related to both tree canopy cover and hard surface cover, and can be reduced significantly when tree canopy cover increases beyond 5% or hard surfaces decrease below 75%. Barriers to widespread adoption of UGI are not technical, but more related to an incomplete understanding of current and future climate impacts, and a lack of political acceptance of the climatic disruption societies face.

About the Authors

Jessica Marshall is an Environmental Scientist and Environmental Planner within the local government sector in Queensland, Australia. She has a varied background working in industry as an environmental chemist, as well as within urban environmental planning and policy practice in Australia. She obtained her Master of Environment (Climate Change Adaptation & Environmental Policy and Economics) from Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia). Her research interests include strategic urban climate adaptation planning and policy, public health, extreme heat planning (disaster resilience), and urban greening and water sensitive urban design.

 

 

Albert Gabric received his PhD from Melbourne University and has been a faculty member with the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia) for over 30 years. His research interests are earth systems science, the impacts of global climate change and societal adaptation to these impacts. A particular interest is in the role of the oceans in climate change, and in quantifying the critically important links between terrestrial and marine ecosystems; he has published over 120 refereed journal articles and book chapters.