Extreme heat is worse in redlined neighborhoods


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As you move through a city, you probably notice summer heat can be a lot worse depending on which neighborhood you’re in. This isn’t a coincidence.

Says study co-author Vivek Shandas – “when we studied 108 cities across the country we found a systematic pattern that the redlined communities were today, on average, about seven degrees hotter than their non redlined counterparts.”

Maybe you’ve heard of the “urban heat island” effect, where cities are significantly hotter than surrounding areas. Urban landscapes, particularly roadways with black asphalt, large buildings, turn solar radiation into heat. These features absorb the heat from the sun during the day. In the evening, when temperatures are supposed to cool down, the retained heat is released back into the neighborhood. Redlined neighborhoods were more likely to be slotted for freeways, while green-coded neighborhoods were more likely to be given parks.

Resources: The study on heat and redlining: The Effects of Historical Housing Policies on Resident Exposure to Intra-Urban Heat: A Study of 108 US Urban Areas – Jeremy S. Hoffman, Vivek Shandas and Nicholas Pendleton https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/8/1/12…

Interactive maps of neighborhood heat and redlining: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboard…

Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al., “Mapping Inequality,” American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, accessed August 4, 2020. https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/red…

All about Urban Heat Islands from Climate Central [PDF]: http://assets.climatecentral.org/pdfs…

State agency designing Rose Quarter project pledges to ‘keep our promises’ to right historic wrongs to Black Portland https://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/…

Sources: Vivek Shandas Rukaiyah Adams Jeremy Hoffman

Media: City of Portland Archives

Oregon Department of Transportation Capa Strategies Albina Vision Getty Images


Jesse T. Nichols personal collection

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