Understanding and Assessing Demographic (In)Equity Resulting from Extreme Heat Exposure due to Lack of Tree Canopies in Norfolk, VA using Agent-Based Modeling

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2023.110445. This is version 2 of this Preprint.

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Comment #107 Christopher J Lynch @ 2023-07-11 21:21

This article has now been published at Ecological Modelling! The published version is Open Access and accessible at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2023.110445


Comment #106 Christopher J Lynch @ 2023-07-11 21:18

This article has now been published at Ecological Modelling! The published version is Open Access and accessible at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030438002300176X.


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Virginia Zamponi, Kevin Obrien, Erik Jensen, Brandon Feldhaus, Russell Moore, Christopher J Lynch , Ross Gore


Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can result in illness and death. In urban areas of dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat, extreme heat conditions can arise regularly and create harmful environmental exposures for residents daily during certain parts of the year. Tree canopies provide shade and help to cool the environment, making mature trees with large canopies a simple and effective way to reduce urban heat. We develop a demographically representative 1 (agent): 1 (person) agent-based model to understand the extent to which different demographics of residents in Norfolk, VA are equitably shaded from extreme heat conditions during a walk on a clear summer day. We use the model to assess the extent to which the city's Tree Planting Plan will be effective in remediating any existing inequities. Our results show that inequitable conditions exist for residents (1) at different education levels, (2) at different income levels and, (3) living in different census tracts. Norfolk's Tree Planting Program effectively reduces the distance residents of all demographics walk in extreme heat. However, residents of the city at lower income levels still experience statistically significantly more extreme heat exposure due to a lack of tree canopies in summer months than those at higher income levels.




Biodiversity, Environmental Public Health, Environmental Studies, Human Geography, Public Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Statistics and Probability


agent-based modeling, Urban planning, Public health, extreme heat exposure, tree canopy, health inequities


Published: 2023-03-31 14:19

Last Updated: 2023-07-12 00:24

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