Heat Islands/Temperature in Cities: Urban and Transport Planning Determinants and Health in Cities
This chapter describes the heat island phenomenon, its causes, its consequences, and proposed solutions to alleviate it. Heat islands are a well studied phenomenon by which urban areas can register temperatures that are several degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas. The occurrence of the heat island effect has been documented in many large urban areas around the world, usually resulting in 2–4 °C higher temperatures during daytime, but the difference in temperature can reach 10 °C in certain places and times, especially at night. Certain actions related to urban planning, such as using cool materials or increasing the vegetation of cites, can have an important influence in ameliorating the intensity of heat islands. These actions have been shown to produce benefits, especially in terms of energy savings and also in the reduction of the health effects of heat. The chapter devotes a section to health, as exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures is a well recognized health threat. It reviews what is known on the effects of temperatures on health, how the heat island effect can intensify the health effects, and how several studies have shown that measures to reduce the heat island phenomenon can be translated into health benefits.
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