The University of Arizona

Evaluating the Use of Urban Heat Island and Heat Increase Modeling in Land Use and Planning Decision-Making | CLIMAS

Evaluating the Use of Urban Heat Island and Heat Increase Modeling in Land Use and Planning Decision-Making

Evaluating the Use of Urban Heat Island and Heat Increase Modeling in Land Use and Planning Decision-Making

CLIMAS Lead:  

The impacts of the urban heat island (UHI) and extreme heat events are well documented, including increases in heat-related public health issues, stresses on urban ecology, and energy usage to mitigate the higher temperatures. Increases in urban heat is of particular concern to cities in the Southwest, since it counteracts the cooling that otherwise normally occurs at night. While UHI mapping and modeling has become more sophisticated in recent years, there is still an information gap between the heat maps and models, urban planning and design strategies to decrease heat, and the use of that information in policy decision making. This study focuses on documenting the current use of urban heat maps and models in communities in Arizona and New Mexico and evaluating best practices and opportunities to increase their usability. Our partner cities and county have indicated they want to use the maps to help inform the conservation of natural and agricultural lands, prioritize shade interventions along trails and street corridors, and reduce the amount of parking lots required.