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Census Tract-Level Outdoor Human Thermal Comfort Modelling and Heat-Related Morbidity Analysis During Extreme Heat Events in Toronto: The Impact of Design Modifications to the Urban Landscape

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Title: Census Tract-Level Outdoor Human Thermal Comfort Modelling and Heat-Related Morbidity Analysis During Extreme Heat Events in Toronto: The Impact of Design Modifications to the Urban Landscape
Author: Graham, Andrew Aaron
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Brown, Robert D.
Abstract: The urban landscape-heat-health relationship was explored using a model of human thermal comfort (as energy budget) modified to incorporate varying urban landscape. Census Tract-level energy budget was modelled in Toronto during four extreme heat events. Energy budgets (~+80 W m-2) and heat-related ambulance calls (~+10%) increased during heat events and were positively correlated, albeit with some event-to-event fluctuation in relationship strength. Heat-related calls were negatively correlated to canopy cover. “Cooling” design strategies applied to two high-energy budget Census Tracts nearly neutralized (~–25 W m-2) thermal comfort and increased canopy cover (500–600%), resulting in an estimated 40–50% reduction in heat-related ambulance calls. These findings advance current understanding of the urban landscape-heat-health relationship and suggest straightforward design strategies to positively influence urban heat-health. This new high-throughput, Census Tract-level thermal comfort modelling methodology incorporates the complexities of the urban landscape has relevance to landscape architecture, urban design, and public health.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/4041
Date: 2012-09


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