Urban Heat and Equity: Experiences from C40’s Cool Cities Network

Organization: C40

Year: 2021

Urban Heat and Equity: Experiences from C40’s Cool Cities Network

As cities are becoming hotter, the impacts are often not experienced equally by all residents – some neighbourhoods and population groups are more affected by urban heat than others. At the same time, some policy responses to heat impacts can be unfair. To address this, cities can apply environmental justice principles in efforts to mitigate heat risk and prepare for extreme heat events.

This report provides case studies from 12 cities that are working to reduce the inequitable distribution of heat risks across populations and urban areas. The case studies look at how cities are: integrating inclusivity and equity in heat actions; bringing the voices of the most heat-vulnerable to the decision making table; and tailoring responses to heat to meet the needs of the most at-risk residents.

Recommendations for inclusive planning and delivering heat actions that emerge from these cities’ experiences are:

  • Collect temperature, socio-economic and health data to develop a heat-vulnerability index for your city.
  • Include heat risk stakeholders in the decision making process, and listen to their needs.
  • Use effective heat risk messaging in multiple languages and multiple modes of communication. Communicating Heat Risk looks more closely at this.
  • Prioritise cooling solutions in areas and communities most at risk.
  • Structure programmes to be widely accessible.
  • Measure and track progress.