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Urban Agricultural Hot-Spots: Taking Advantage of the Urban Heat Island for Production of Warmer-Climate Crops

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Title: Urban Agricultural Hot-Spots: Taking Advantage of the Urban Heat Island for Production of Warmer-Climate Crops
Author: Waffle, Alexander
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Brown, Robert
Abstract: Much attention has been placed on reducing the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect but few have proposed taking advantage of it. This thesis investigates the potential for growing food crops in hot urban microclimates even though they would not grow successfully in the surrounding rural area. Growing degree days (GDDs) and grapevine winter hardiness illustrate how the UHI might affect plant growth in Toronto, Ontario, using local climate data. Modelled leaf temperature is used to analyze urban microclimate variability and the added implications for plant growth. GDDs in Toronto have increased from an average around 1000 in the mid-1800’s to an average around 1500 today, remaining unchanged in a rural control. The urbanization of Toronto has caused longer, hotter growing seasons, and warmer winters. Given the appropriate microclimate combined with UHI effects Toronto could likely support the growth of warmer-climate crops that would not otherwise grow successfully in Ontario.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9688
Date: 2016-04


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