Hot summer days can bring plenty of pleasant associations. But for many at-risk city dwellers, hot weather is a silent killer.
“Urban heat islands” like New York trap heat with concrete and asphalt, and have relatively little vegetation to cool things off. That means more heat-related illnesses and premature deaths, especially among the vulnerable elderly, young children and those with chronic medical conditions.
And the danger worsens as climate change brings a rise in heat waves around the country.
So just how hot is it getting? And how can communities prepares themselves for this new reality? Those are among the questions we’ll explore in depth this summer, when AdaptNY launches a new reporting project to look at the harmful health effects of heat.
New York’s Harlem neighborhood and its at-risk populations are the focus of this latest initiative. We will draw on crowd-sourced data and citizen journalists to find out just how hot is it in Harlem. We’ll investigate how the city and community are responding to the threat. And we’ll capture voices of the community on the problem and possible solutions.
AdaptNY will work with an exciting team of partners to explore Harlem heat, using a range of innovative journalistic approaches. For instance, we’ll enlist citizen scientists to collect indoor temperature sensor readings from Harlem residents in partnership with developer iseechange, which has created a sophisticated new climate crowdsourcing mobile app in cooperation with NASA.
We’re also partnering local community radio station WHCR-90.3FM, community-based environmental justice organization We Act For Environmental Justice, and City College and the City University of New York, which are providing grant funding and other resources. Watch for more details on these important joint efforts.
AdaptNY will also conduct a collaborative community-media workshop later this summer to spotlight citizen insights, share what we’re learning about the problem, train residents to respond, and bring together local stakeholders with climate and other experts to brainstorm and prototype solutions.
In addition, the news project will compile relevant resources, easy-to-read infographics to track our data findings, and multimedia interviews with key players.
So keep an eye in the coming weeks on our Harlem Heat pages and our frequently updated social media pages, as various facets of the project unfold. Watch especially for information about how you can participate in our citizen science sensor reporting work and our collaborative community-media workshop.
In the meantime, we’ve put together this series of resource pages to help illuminate the challenges of urban heat, both in Harlem and more broadly, as well as to provide resources residents can use to protect themselves from ill health affects:
- FAQ: Harlem and the Urban Heat Island Effect
- Resource Guide: Harlem Heat
- Resource Guide: Extreme Heat & Health Stats for Harlem
- Resource Guide: Heat Safety
Stay cool and see you over the summer!