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A GIS-based tool to gain detailed insight into human health vulnerability to heatwaves in Dutch urban areas

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Owner: Amanda Feng

Version: 1.0

Last Updated: 3-2019

DescriptionPreview

Heatwaves form a significant threat to human health while global warming ensures that future
summer temperatures will increase even further. The impact of heatwaves are often felt
strongest in urban areas where populations are exposed to the Urban Heat Island effect. The
Urban Heat Island effect ensures that temperatures occasionally rise to an additional 10°C in
Dutch urban areas due to the high amount of impervious surfaces and the lack of vegetation. The
purpose of this study is to combine maps of the Urban Heat Island effect with readily accessible
data of heat sensitive people in order to develop a tool that is able to gain detailed insight into
human health vulnerability to heatwaves in Dutch urban areas. This research uses the city of
Eindhoven as a case study to demonstrate the functioning of the tool. Results show that despite
the Urban Heat Island effect is strongest in the city center this area is relatively invulnerable due
to the low proportion of heat sensitive people living there. The vulnerable sections of the
population are clustered in the north and south-eastern party of the city. This prioritization
enables municipalities to formulate targeted adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce the
risk of negative heat health effects. The tool is kept simple and transparent and makes use of
datasets that are available for most Dutch municipalities in order to stimulate adaptation of the
tool.

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