Matching Items (4)

Household Accessibility to Heat Refuges: Residential Air Conditioning, Public Cooled Space, and Walkability.

Description

Access to air conditioned space is critical for protecting urban populations from the adverse effects of heat exposure. Yet there remains fairly limited knowledge of the penetration of private (home

Access to air conditioned space is critical for protecting urban populations from the adverse effects of heat exposure. Yet there remains fairly limited knowledge of the penetration of private (home air conditioning) and distribution of public (cooling centers and commercial space) cooled space across cities. Furthermore, the deployment of government-sponsored cooling centers is likely to be inadequately informed with respect to the location of existing cooling resources (residential air conditioning and air conditioned public space), raising questions of the equitability of access to heat refuges.

We explore the distribution of private and public cooling resources and access inequities at the household level in two major US urban areas: Los Angeles County, California and Maricopa County, Arizona (whose county seat is Phoenix). We evaluate the presence of in-home air conditioning and develop a walking-based accessibility measure to air conditioned public space using a combined cumulative opportunities-gravity approach. We find significant variations in the distribution of residential air conditioning across both regions which are largely attributable to building age and inter/intra-regional climate differences.

There are also regional disparities in walkable access to public cooled space. At average walking speeds, we find that official cooling centers are only accessible to a small fraction of households (3% in Los Angeles, 2% in Maricopa) while a significantly higher number of households (80% in Los Angeles, 39% in Maricopa) have access to at least one other type of public cooling resource such as a library or commercial establishment. Aggregated to a neighborhood level, we find that there are areas within each region where access to cooled space (either public or private) is limited which may increase heat-related health risks.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-07-15

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Assessing Neighborhood Walkability in South Phoenix

Description

As the prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States rises, opportunities for children to be physically active become more vital. One opportunity for physical activity involves children walking to

As the prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States rises, opportunities for children to be physically active become more vital. One opportunity for physical activity involves children walking to and from school. However, children that live in areas with a pedestrian-unfriendly built environment and a low degree of walkability are less likely to be physically active and more likely to be overweight. The purpose of this study was to study walking routes from schools in low-income neighborhoods in Southwestern United States to a local community center. Walking routes from the three study schools (South Mountain High School, Percy Julian Middle School, and Rose Linda Elementary School) were determined by distance, popularity, and the presence of a major thoroughfare. Segments and intersections, which formed the routes, were randomly selected from each school's buffer region. The walking routes as a whole, along with the segments and intersections, were audited and scored using built environment assessments tools: MAPS, PEQI and Walkability Checklist. These scores were utilized to develop interactive mapping tools to visualize the quality of the routes, segments and intersections and identify areas for improvement. Results showed that the routes from Percy Julian to the Kroc Center were, overall, rated higher than routes from the other two schools. The highest scoring route, from the seven routes studied, was route 2 from Percy Julian to the Kroc Center along Broadway Road. South Mountain High School was overall the worst starting point for walking to the Kroc Center as those three walking routes were graded as the least walkable. Possible areas for improvement include installing traffic calming features along major thoroughfares and reducing the perceived risk to pedestrian safety by beautifying the community by planting greenery. Future directions include studying the built environment in South Phoenix communities that surround the Kroc Center.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Sky View Factors from Synthetic Fisheye Photos for Thermal Comfort Routing—A Case Study in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

The Sky View Factor (SVF) is a dimension-reduced representation of urban form and one of the major variables in radiation models that estimate outdoor thermal comfort. Common ways of retrieving

The Sky View Factor (SVF) is a dimension-reduced representation of urban form and one of the major variables in radiation models that estimate outdoor thermal comfort. Common ways of retrieving SVFs in urban environments include capturing fisheye photographs or creating a digital 3D city or elevation model of the environment. Such techniques have previously been limited due to a lack of imagery or lack of full scale detailed models of urban areas. We developed a web based tool that automatically generates synthetic hemispherical fisheye views from Google Earth at arbitrary spatial resolution and calculates the corresponding SVFs through equiangular projection. SVF results were validated using Google Maps Street View and compared to results from other SVF calculation tools. We generated 5-meter resolution SVF maps for two neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona to illustrate fine-scale variations of intra-urban horizon limitations due to urban form and vegetation. To demonstrate the utility of our synthetic fisheye approach for heat stress applications, we automated a radiation model to generate outdoor thermal comfort maps for Arizona State University’s Tempe campus for a hot summer day using synthetic fisheye photos and on-site meteorological data. Model output was tested against mobile transect measurements of the six-directional radiant flux density. Based on the thermal comfort maps, we implemented a pedestrian routing algorithm that is optimized for distance and thermal comfort preferences. Our synthetic fisheye approach can help planners assess urban design and tree planting strategies to maximize thermal comfort outcomes and can support heat hazard mitigation in urban areas.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-03-27

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Exploring the relationship between design and outdoor thermal comfort in hot and dry climate

Description

Moderate physical activity, such as walking and biking, positively affects physical and mental health. Outdoor thermal comfort is an important prerequisite for incentivizing an active lifestyle. Thus, extreme heat poses

Moderate physical activity, such as walking and biking, positively affects physical and mental health. Outdoor thermal comfort is an important prerequisite for incentivizing an active lifestyle. Thus, extreme heat poses significant challenges for people who are outdoors by choice or necessity. The type and qualities of built infrastructure determine the intensity and duration of individual exposure to heat. As cities globally are shifting priorities towards non-motorized and public transit travel, more residents are expected to experience the city on their feet. Thus, physical conditions as well as psychological perception of the environment that affect thermal comfort will become paramount. Phoenix, Arizona, is used as a case study to examine the effectiveness of current public transit and street infrastructure to reduce heat exposure and affect the thermal comfort of walkers and public transit users.

The City of Phoenix has committed to public transit improvements in the Transportation 2050 plan and has recently adopted a Complete Streets Policy. Proposed changes include mobility improvements and creating a safe and comfortable environment for non-motorized road participants. To understand what kind of improvements would benefit thermal comfort the most, it is necessary to understand heat exposure at finer spatial scales, explore whether current bus shelter designs are adequate in mitigating heat-health effects, and comprehensively assess the impact of design on physical, psychological and behavioral aspects of thermal comfort. A study conducted at bus stops in one Phoenix neighborhood examined grey and green infrastructure types preferred for cooling and found relationships between perception of pleasantness and thermal sensation votes. Walking interviews conducted in another neighborhood event examined the applicability of a framework for walking behavior under the stress of heat, and how differences between the streets affected perceptions of the walkers. The interviews revealed that many of the structural themes from the framework of walking behavior were applicable, however, participants assessed the majority of the elements in their walk from a heat mitigation perspective. Finally, guiding questions for walkability in hot and arid climates were developed based on the literature review and results from the empirical studies. This dissertation contributes to filling the gap between walkability and outdoor thermal comfort, and presents methodology and findings that can be useful to address walkability and outdoor thermal comfort in the world’s hot cities as well as those in temperate climates that may face similar climate challenges in the future as the planet warms.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019