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Reducing Our Risk
Organization: The Trust for Public Land
As roads, buildings, and built infrastructure replace open space in a city, the concrete, steel and other building materials that go into these projects retain heat and create a dramatically warmer environment than is found in surrounding rural and suburban areas. This is known as the “Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect,” which will only be intensified by increases in air temperature due to climate change. The National Climate Assessment identifies UHI’s, combined with an aging population and increased urbanization, as a major concern for public health, increasing the vulnerability of urban populations to heat‐related impacts in the future. One way cities can remedy or reduce the impact UHIs have on communities is to deploy shade trees and specially-designed features like green alleys in high need areas. The Trust for Public Land has developed the Urban Heat Risk Explorer App to educate residents of cities about their risk to extreme heat events and opportunities to take action.