Solutions-focused innovation for a healthier living environment
The Healthy Urban Environments initiative at Arizona State University is focused on convening and translating evidence-based research and evaluation of heat mitigation and air-quality management efforts intro useful solutions that can be implemented across Maricopa County.
The projects listed on this page represent work being supported by HUE as part of its mission to coalesce and incubate research, policy and technology projects that have real-world applications for urban heat and air-quality solutions. These projects range from empirical field data collection and testing to developing policy tools and technologies that support governance and management interventions around urban heat and air-quality. Importantly, to ensure HUE achieves its commitment to place-based change, many of these projects actively involve Maricopa County stakeholders such as individuals, communities, elected and appointed officials, non-profits, and private businesses.
AZ Heat Preparedness and
This Workgroup was created in the summer of 2020 to share heat forecasts and warnings with communities; highlight approaches to heat relief, communications strategies and resources; identify opportunities and gaps in heat-related research; and connect cities and counties to regional and state resources and information.
Asphalt is an incredibly common component of the urban landscape. By testing a new approach to improve thermal behavior of asphalt binders, this project aims to improve the thermal characteristics of asphalt, improve asphalt paving longevity, and reduce the contribution of asphalt surfaces to urban heat.
Quantifying interaction between heat flux and temperature in urban areas is imperative to evaluate interventions to mitigate urban heat islands. This work will develop models to simulate the potential cooling benefits of novel paving and building materials in different climatic zones.
Cities continue to face challenges in organizing and standardizing governance approaches and evaluation around urban heat. This project proposes to develop the HeatReady standard to support effective regional heat governance, and pilot these standards across several local municipalities.
This project will develop a telecommuting toolkit that contains a concise, graphical guide for Human Resources departments seeking to develop telecommuting programs. The toolkit will be developed to up scale the project in other municipalities.
This research targets schoolchildren and heat preparedness within schools to mitigate high temperatures and health concerns. The goal is to create an evaluation tool for “HeatReady Schools,” whereby HeatReady Schools are those that are increasingly able to identify, prepare for, mitigate, track and respond to the negative impacts of heat.
A student-led team from Arizona College Prep - Erie Campus developed a prototype for a “HydroHat,” a wearable device that identifies heat-related illness symptoms. This device will monitor a user for three different vital signs: temperature, pulse rate and acceleration.
Through surveys and workshops, this project aims to analyze risks and challenges of extreme heat faced by mobile home residents. Based on findings, the project will develop and disseminate toolkits highlighting mobile home-specific adaptations, mitigations and resources.
Understanding the potential impacts of changes to the form and arrangement of the built environment is critical to supporting improved thermal characteristics and comfort in neighborhoods. Through the combined use of field monitoring and neighborhood scale atmospheric modeling, this work will characterize the air flow and heat transfer dynamics of existing and proposed designs of a residential community in Phoenix, AZ.
The City of Phoenix, in cooperation with the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation/Phoenix Zoo, is retrofitting and expanding the parking area used by the zoo. The new parking lot will utilize features to address heat and storm water issues, such as shade trees, storm water swales and increased shade structures along pedestrian pathways.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) play a significant role in reducing urban air quality, often playing a role in contributing to photochemical smog pollution events. This project seeks to develop a coating to enable the front surfaces of photovoltaic (solar) panel installations to actively remove NOx from the urban atmospheres.
A common vector for children to be impacted by heat and air quality are playgrounds and play spaces at schools and parks. This project will provide novel insights on the impacts of playspace design on children’s exposure to heat and air pollution, 2) the impacts of this exposure on health and well-being, and 3) outdoor space usage for learning and physical activity.
Uncovered land surfaces can contribute high levels of suspended particles, particularly near or at urban construction sites. While traditionally water is used as an effective but temporary solution to control dust entrainment, this project explores a novel technique to stabilize soil surfaces and reduce the release of particles from these sites.
Improving thermal comfort experiences in urban areas depends on understanding how shade contributes to thermal comfort in various contexts. This project uses an mobile field monitoring station to evaluate the impact of various types of shade and their urban contexts on thermal comfort.