Against the backdrop of global climate change, extreme heat events are becoming hotter, longer, and more frequent. Such sustained extreme heat has severely impacted people’s health all over the world.
It is generally acknowledged that some urban landscape features, such as green spaces, can offer respite from high temperatures. However, few studies have shown how changing the landscape of a city affects its residents’ ability to cope with extreme heat and the effect on mortality.
In two recently published papers, researchers from China, South Africa, and the UK found that green spaces, such as trees lining streets, can alleviate extreme heat’s negative impacts on human health.
They also observed a higher risk of heatwave-associated mortality when buildings are more densely packed together and when the land surface temperature is higher at night.
The research findings provide scientific evidence for policymakers and urban designers to form and implement strategies and health interventions for extreme heat conditions, such as incorporating different types of greenery into cities.
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