The urban heat island (UHI) effect is a local energy imbalance of anthropogenic origin, observable between the city and its rural surroundings. Many factors are considered responsible for the length, extent, and severity of the UHI. Recent spatial/temporal global trends, associated with various environmental and social variables, ensue in rising human exposure to hazardous levels of heat (Zhang, Li et al. 2020). This increase is noticeable in terms of duration, footprint, and intensity. Climate change (Habeeb, Vargo et al. 2015), aging population (Li, Han et al. 2019), urbanization (Brenner and Schmid 2014), air quality (Lelieveld, Evans et al. 2015), and overpopulation (Wang and Wang 2017) are just some examples of the many variables with synergistic and/or self-reinforcing effects on the heat-related risks. Understanding the significance of each explanatory variable and the reciprocal interactions is challenging, also due to spatial non-stationarity (Zhao, Jensen et al. 2018). A detailed understanding of this worsening phenomenon, however, is crucial to safeguard public health and rationalize future urban planning (Debbage and Shepherd 2015).

The present EMP aims at assessing the efficacy of the mitigation strategies already implemented across the city, with respect to intensity, spatial distribution, and diel fluctuations of urban heat, caused by the planned projects. This general goal will be achieved through four main steps: i) monitoring design; ii) collection of field-data; iii) analysis of field-data; iv) interpretation of the results; v) modelling and GIS. The latter two steps will be used in combination to recognise the validity of the currently adopted management, and guide future actions.

Read an excerpt of the 2020 report here.

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