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Urban form and extreme heat events: are sprawling cities more vulnerable to climate change than compact cities?

Stone B, Hess JJ, Frumkin H - Environ. Health Perspect. (2010)

Bottom Line: In addition, low-density, sprawling patterns of urban development have been associated with enhanced surface temperatures in urbanized areas.We found that the rate of increase in the annual number of EHEs between 1956 and 2005 in the most sprawling metropolitan regions was more than double the rate of increase observed in the most compact metropolitan regions.The design and management of land use in metropolitan regions may offer an important tool for adapting to the heat-related health effects associated with ongoing climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA. stone@gatech.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Extreme heat events (EHEs) are increasing in frequency in large U.S. cities and are responsible for a greater annual number of climate-related fatalities, on average, than any other form of extreme weather. In addition, low-density, sprawling patterns of urban development have been associated with enhanced surface temperatures in urbanized areas.

Objectives: In this study. we examined the association between urban form at the level of the metropolitan region and the frequency of EHEs over a five-decade period.

Methods: We employed a widely published sprawl index to measure the association between urban form in 2000 and the mean annual rate of change in EHEs between 1956 and 2005.

Results: We found that the rate of increase in the annual number of EHEs between 1956 and 2005 in the most sprawling metropolitan regions was more than double the rate of increase observed in the most compact metropolitan regions.

Conclusions: The design and management of land use in metropolitan regions may offer an important tool for adapting to the heat-related health effects associated with ongoing climate change.

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Sprawl ranking and mean annual change in frequency of EHEs by metropolitan statistical area.
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f1-ehp-118-1425: Sprawl ranking and mean annual change in frequency of EHEs by metropolitan statistical area.

Mentions: As illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, the rate of increase in annual EHEs over this 50-year period varied significantly by metropolitan form. Although the average annual number of EHEs increased during this period across all cities, the most sprawling cities (top quartile) experienced a rate of increase in EHEs that was more than double that of the most compact cities (bottom quartile). Between 1956 and 2005, the most compact cities experienced an average increase in the number of EHEs of 5.6 days (95% CI, 0.9–10.3), whereas the average annual number of events increased by 14.8 days (95% CI, 7.9–21.7) in the most sprawling cities. Variation in the size or rate of growth in metropolitan populations did not diminish the measured statistical association between land-use patterns and the rate of increase in EHEs in these cities (r = 0.34; p < 0.05). These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that urban sprawl contributes to EHE frequency.


Urban form and extreme heat events: are sprawling cities more vulnerable to climate change than compact cities?

Stone B, Hess JJ, Frumkin H - Environ. Health Perspect. (2010)

Sprawl ranking and mean annual change in frequency of EHEs by metropolitan statistical area.
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2957923&req=5

f1-ehp-118-1425: Sprawl ranking and mean annual change in frequency of EHEs by metropolitan statistical area.
Mentions: As illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, the rate of increase in annual EHEs over this 50-year period varied significantly by metropolitan form. Although the average annual number of EHEs increased during this period across all cities, the most sprawling cities (top quartile) experienced a rate of increase in EHEs that was more than double that of the most compact cities (bottom quartile). Between 1956 and 2005, the most compact cities experienced an average increase in the number of EHEs of 5.6 days (95% CI, 0.9–10.3), whereas the average annual number of events increased by 14.8 days (95% CI, 7.9–21.7) in the most sprawling cities. Variation in the size or rate of growth in metropolitan populations did not diminish the measured statistical association between land-use patterns and the rate of increase in EHEs in these cities (r = 0.34; p < 0.05). These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that urban sprawl contributes to EHE frequency.

Bottom Line: In addition, low-density, sprawling patterns of urban development have been associated with enhanced surface temperatures in urbanized areas.We found that the rate of increase in the annual number of EHEs between 1956 and 2005 in the most sprawling metropolitan regions was more than double the rate of increase observed in the most compact metropolitan regions.The design and management of land use in metropolitan regions may offer an important tool for adapting to the heat-related health effects associated with ongoing climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA. stone@gatech.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Extreme heat events (EHEs) are increasing in frequency in large U.S. cities and are responsible for a greater annual number of climate-related fatalities, on average, than any other form of extreme weather. In addition, low-density, sprawling patterns of urban development have been associated with enhanced surface temperatures in urbanized areas.

Objectives: In this study. we examined the association between urban form at the level of the metropolitan region and the frequency of EHEs over a five-decade period.

Methods: We employed a widely published sprawl index to measure the association between urban form in 2000 and the mean annual rate of change in EHEs between 1956 and 2005.

Results: We found that the rate of increase in the annual number of EHEs between 1956 and 2005 in the most sprawling metropolitan regions was more than double the rate of increase observed in the most compact metropolitan regions.

Conclusions: The design and management of land use in metropolitan regions may offer an important tool for adapting to the heat-related health effects associated with ongoing climate change.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus