Landscapes of thermal inequity: disproportionate exposure to urban heat in the three largest US cities

Heat waves are the most significant cause of mortality in the US compared to other natural hazards. Prior studies have found increased heat exposure for individuals of lower socioeconomic status in several US cities, but few comparative analyses of the social distribution of urban heat have been conducted. To address this gap, our paper examines and compares the environmental justice consequences of urban heat risk in the three largest US cities: New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Risk to urban heat is estimated on the basis of three characteristics of the urban thermal landscape: land surface temperature, vegetation abundance, and structural density of the built urban environment.

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