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, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Baltimore, Maryland

Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock

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."

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in NPR

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Parent and child walking, holding hands on mixed-use trail with trees

What Role Does Health Care Play in Community Development?

Cities are economically diverse and require accessible health care systems, but this can be challenging to implement. Urban developers are working alongside health professionals to create affordable care for city residents.

May 18, 2022 - Devin Partida

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

1 hour ago - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

2 hours ago - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

3 hours ago - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.