Vulnerability to the urban heat islands effect in the Global North and the Global South: assessment of the drivers and mitigation strategies

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Modern cities all over the world are increasingly facing global urban heat islands (UHIs). The issue calls for sound urban development and planning policies and requires measuring, monitoring, and adapting to major climate change shocks in the cities, as well as environmental and socioeconomic impact mitigation. The most affected people are recurrently those living in tropical and subtropical, low-income countries—especially the poor and the vulnerable categories. A peculiar role is attributed to resource and commons governance, for which a tailored sustainability action became a priority. Major notable consequences of UHI are, indeed, impacting energy consumption, water and air quality, and climate change, as well as environmental and public health. These societal problems are directly intertwined with grand challenges—above all climate justice and resilience policies formulation for the vulnerable. The former requires prompt multidimensional solutions to disentangle complex systems conundrums. This book chapter aims to furnish a comparative global picture of some key features related to the UHI phenomenon and trends, making use of the CIESIN's Satellite-Derived Environmental Indicators on Global Urban Heat Island. These data are corroborated by additional datasets analyses. For this scope, selected cities located in different world regions pertaining to both the Global North and Global South are used as case studies. Statistical and econometrics tests are performed—including OLS and multilevel multivariate regression analysis. These pieces of evidence are examined with respect to their latitude, population, and mean day and night temperature differences. The work finds that the Global South countries are more exposed to UHI vulnerability. Lastly, possible resilience policies, mitigation strategies, and practical actions to address the discussed issues are eventually inquired.

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Global Urban Heat Island Mitigation

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