Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Low Income People of Color More Likely to Suffer Extreme Heat

A recently published report finds more evidence to elevate heat as a matter of environmental justice.
September 7, 2019, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Baltimore, Maryland
Andrea Izzotti

Meg Anderson and Sean McMinn report on the connection between urban heat islands and neighborhoods with high proportions of low-income people of color.

The article starts with the example of Baltimore, where the franklin Square neighborhood is "hotter than about two-thirds of the other neighborhoods in Baltimore — about 6 degrees hotter than the city's coolest neighborhood."

"It's also in one of the city's poorest communities, with more than one-third of residents living in poverty," according to Anderson and McMinn.

The article is sharing news of a recent investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland's Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

"In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts," according to the article. "Those exposed to that extra heat are often a city's most vulnerable: the poorest and, our data show, disproportionately people of color."

The investigation echoes a report from earlier this year that connects shade with environmental justice, exemplified in that case by the city of Los Angeles. In the case of Baltimore, Anderson and McMinn make it clear that the city is not a special case: "NPR analyzed 97 of the most populous U.S. cities using the median household income from U.S. Census Bureau data and thermal satellite images from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. In more than three-quarters of those cities, we found that where it's hotter, it also tends to be poorer. And at least 69 had an even stronger relationship than Baltimore, the first city we mapped."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in NPR
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email