The spatial distribution of urban heat vulnerability and coping strategies in Beijing

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Under the influence of global climate change and local urbanization, the heat wave is thought to be more intensified and frequent. So far, the definition of heat wave has not been reached a general agreement all over the world, but severe consequences caused by heat waves on health effects have been demonstrated in many cities. With the constant process of Asia’s urbanization, heat wave events will be the uppermost one of extreme weather conditions that Asian cities have to confront in the future (IPCC,2014). Thus, it is emerging objectives for urban planning that how to efficiently reduce the urban vulnerability and prevent public health from the current or potential risk of heat wave events. Similar to other extreme weather conditions, impact areas of heat wave event are distributed unevenly. Thus, before reducing urban heat vulnerability (UHV) by means of urban planning, to identify the place and people vulnerable to heat waves is the fundamental basis for variant planning strategies. In terms of spatial pattern caused by the heat wave, the intra-urban variation of magnitude and duration during heat waves is significant. Some studies find urban heat island (UHI), a atmospheric phenomena that city area warmer than its countryside, aggravates the intensity of heat wave events within the urban area (Yang and Chen et al., 2015). In turn, higher temperature during heat wave events make UHI effect more significant. With the interaction between heat waves and UHI, urban residents have to be suffered from a higher risk of consistent heat stress. In addition to the variation of geographical range, the difference of heat-related health is another aspect need to be identified. Under the same weather condition, some people may be affected more than others. The research from public health recognizes general characteristics of people that are vulnerable to heat waves by the case study of heat-related mortality and morbidity, which includes age, economic characteristics, pre-existing health condition and thermal environment (Harlan and Brazel et al., 2006). Therefore, mapping UHV, which emphasize not only vulnerable areas, but also susceptible people, is urgently needed.
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