Technology and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2333-2581
  • Modern Environmental Science and Engineering

Urban Heat in the Anthropocene: Coming Soon to Your City


Doug Kelbaugh

University of Michigan, USA


Abstract: The urban heat island, a lesser known local phenomenon than global climate change, which is heating up most cities twice as fast as their surrounding countryside or the planet as a whole. Taken together, many cities suffer extreme heat, which threatens health and livability. Heat waves are growing more frequent, more intense and longer, with lethal impact. This essay presents strategies to combat extreme heat, including reducing waste heat from tailpipes and chimneys, lighter colored pavements and rooftops, better ventilated street canyons and more trees. The strategies to address heat islands are more like a Trojan Horse than the long frontal assault needed in the larger war to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In a world where urban living affords lower carbon footprints per capita, urban heat needs to be diminished so that people continue to migrate to cities, and that urban dwellers do not decamp to the countryside. Greater detail on the antidotes to this worldwide problem can be found in the author’s new book THE URBAN FIX, Resilient Cities in the War Against Climate Change, Heat Islands and Overpopulation.


Key words: urban heat island, heat wave, waste heat, street canyons, environmental paradox of cities, carbon footprint, climate change




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