Skip to Content

Featured Research – Chester

A Simulation Platform to Enhance Infrastructure and Community Resilience to Extreme Heat Events: 

This summer Mikhail Chester and ASU colleagues Ariane Middel, David Hondula, along with David Eisenman of UCLA were awarded a new research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a simulation platform to enhance infrastructure and community resilience to extreme heat events. We will highlight results as they become available. The NSF proposal abstract follows:

ABSTRACT:

Exposure to heat is a growing public health concern in many cities across the globe. In the US, Southwest cities have experienced increasing numbers of heat waves in the past few decades, and global climate models project significant increases in both the duration and intensity of these extreme events. Facing these challenges, very little is known about how people are exposed to heat during their day-to-day activities as they interact with urban infrastructure. To understand exposure, factors including the types of homes people live in (and whether they have and use air conditioning), their mobility choices, the quality of the infrastructure (e.g., shading, landscaping, and material choice), their work situation (e.g., air conditioned office versus outdoor worker), and their activity profiles must be considered. A systematic framework that any city can use to understand how people are exposed to heat and proactively mitigate risk is needed.

To create insight into how people are exposed to heat, this work will develop an Urban Activity Heat Simulation (UAHS) platform that will join (1) a model of residential and workplace exposure, (2) travel simulations for automobile use, public transit, and biking/walking, (3) urban infrastructure characteristics, (4) high-resolution urban climate data, and (5) a model of exposure thresholds. UAHS will be developed using Phoenix, Arizona and Los Angeles, California as case studies. Heat performance models for buildings will be combined with surveys of home and work activities to assess how people experience heat indoors. Using national and regional travel surveys combined with detailed travel models, simulations of how people move throughout cities will be developed. Downscaled climate models will be used to estimate present and future outdoor conditions in both cities. Information on infrastructure including materials, landscaping, and shading will also be used to develop estimates of outdoor exposure. Combining simulated exposures with health records will provide new insight into dangerous heat exposure profiles. The platform will be validated with in situ monitoring. UAHS will be developed with the goal of enabling any city to build upon the platform for their unique population and infrastructure.