Heat and health
Creating a fair and healthy Europe requires a deeper and more practical understanding of urban health.
As far back as the 1980s, The World Health Organization made it an urgent priority for local governments to develop a better understanding of how the urban environment affects health.
Since then, the UN and the EU have both reiterated this need, and a growing body of research has shown that the urban environment offers both an ‘urban health advantage’ and an ‘urban health penalty’. It is most often the poor and vulnerable who are penalised.
One significant urban health problem is heat. The urban heat island effect causes temperatures to rise in cities, exacerbating the negative impacts this has on health. With climate change already creating more frequent heat waves, social inequality and illness will only increase unless targeted heat-mitigation measures are taken.
The data shows that health outcomes can be improved by modifying the configuration of city buildings and urban systems. This means planners, governments and local management all have an important role to play in tackling the problem.
The creation of accessible, usable heat data for cities is well overdue. Understanding this complex heat-health relationship, and applying it for a particular city, would require a level of scientific expertise and high-level climate and health modelling that local governments and planners cannot be expected to possess. They need accessible, reliable and easily applicable information in order to effectively mitigate this problem.
All you need to know, in one usable package
Working together, the multi-disciplinary Climate-fit.City team processes high-level research and applies it to specific cities. Our Health Service creates the tools needed to enable users to understand the impacts of the urban climate and climate change on the health of the various groups of people living in a city.
The urban climate service centre and Climate-fit.City partner, VITO, has developed a flexible and highly precise computer model called UrbClim. Using this unique technology, we can provide clear, in-depth and neighbourhood-level insights into the best adaptation measures, mitigation strategies and plans for protecting people from the effects of urban heat, now and into the future.
From knowledge to action
Our service can be tailored for a variety of clients, including insurance companies, nursing and residential homes, hospitals, architects and urban planners.
We are currently working with Barcelona Public Health Agency, studying the relationships between summer temperatures and daily mortality rates, to create a spatially detailed sociodemographic overview of the effect of heat on their citizens.
The project aims at developing local health policies to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.
Climate-fit.City: because no one should be penalised for living in our cities.