Nobody ever needs to tell Houston residents this, but MAN! It gets hot here. But there is a campaign seeking to help make Houston area neighborhoods greener and cooler.
The Houston Harris Heat Action Team (H3AT)—a collaboration between Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), the City of Houston, Harris County Public Health (HCPH), and The Nature Conservancy of Texas (TNC) - conducted a one-day urban heat island mapping effort last August with the help of 84 community scientists, and funding support from Lowe's and Shell.
The effort was part of the 2020 Heat Watch program led by CAPA Strategies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and it resulted in a total of 320 square miles of Houston and Harris County being mapped by residents.
“The data has identified Houston’s ‘hot spots’ and shows that some Houstonians are impacted by urban heat island effect more than others,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We will work with partners to target our cooling and health strategies toward these neighborhoods to better help Houstonians beat the heat.”
This urban heat island mapping campaign is included in Resilient Houston, the City’s comprehensive resilience strategy, as part of its commitment to making Houston neighborhoods greener and cooler. The results of this campaign can be used by the public and private sector in different ways to equitably reduce the impacts of urban heat, including (but not limited to):
- Better understanding heat-related health risks
- Coordinating tree planting, shade structures, and cooling centers
- Informing design of parks, streets, housing, and other built infrastructure
“Science shows that there is real potential to reshape our built environment and cool our cities down where it’s needed most,” said Suzanne Scott, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas. “And now, armed with this data, local planners, developers, and environmental groups like ours will be able to leverage smart, cooling urban design strategies that offer multiple benefits - including climate resilience - for all residents, both human and wildlife.”
This project is part of a larger initiative, Heat Watch, led by CAPA Strategies and supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office, who helped to fund the project. The Houston-Harris County team is one of 13 communities selected to participate in 2020 summer campaigns. For more info, visit CAPA Heat Watch.