Dr. Larissa Larsen, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, led a study looking at the oldest housing in Detroit in order to understand the impacts of climate change, specifically extreme heat events, on the built environment and the residents living there.
“We looked at these heat events to find the best adaptive strategies – adding trees, removing unnecessary hard surfaces, and home weatherization to make homes more efficient and reduce the cost of utilities,” said Larsen. “The key to the project will be public engagement and working with people to implement the most practical responses.”
The Detroit Climatology Report 2013 by Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) estimates a steep increase in heat related deaths. In recent years extreme heat events have led to many deaths, especially among the elderly. Many studies have also demonstrated the causal link between increase heat and increase crime/ homicides as heat causes tempers to flare.
“Climate change is an issue that is quickly gaining momentum throughout the country, particularly in urban communities, as increased heat waves, air pollution and infectious diseases are more prevalent in low-income and minority communities,” said Kimberly Hill Knott, director of policy for Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.