Global warming doesn’t affect everyone the same way, especially in big cities. Some neighborhoods are far more vulnerable to extreme heat than others. Lower elevation makes them vulnerable to flooding. More pavement soaks up sunlight during the day and radiates heat like a furnace at night. Fewer trees mean less shade. During a heatwave, these areas, known as urban heat islands, heat up faster and stay hot longer. In some cities, the temperature in a heat island may be as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than in other parts of the city, with devastating consequences for residents, who are often more likely to belong to marginalized communities.
As you might suspect, this is no accident.Read More
In Gilpin, VA the average life expectancy is 63 years. Just a short drive over the James River sits Westover Hills, a largely white, middle-income neighborhood that greets visitors with rows of massive oak trees spreading their leaves over quiet boulevards. Life expectancy there is 83 years. This isn't an accident. Decades of racist housing policies have left many communities vulnerable to extreme heat and other social factors that impact health. While many are optimistic about Richmond's efforts to focus on racial equity in the urban landscape, there still much work to be done.Read More