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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 13321-13349; doi:10.3390/ijerph121013321

On the Science-Policy Bridge: Do Spatial Heat Vulnerability Assessment Studies Influence Policy?

1
Department of Geography, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
2
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
3
Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jan C. Semenza
Received: 24 August 2015 / Revised: 15 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Climate Change and Human Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [733 KB, uploaded 26 October 2015]

Abstract

Human vulnerability to heat varies at a range of spatial scales, especially within cities where there can be noticeable intra-urban differences in heat risk factors. Mapping and visualizing intra-urban heat vulnerability offers opportunities for presenting information to support decision-making. For example the visualization of the spatial variation of heat vulnerability has the potential to enable local governments to identify hot spots of vulnerability and allocate resources and increase assistance to people in areas of greatest need. Recently there has been a proliferation of heat vulnerability mapping studies, all of which, to varying degrees, justify the process of vulnerability mapping in a policy context. However, to date, there has not been a systematic review of the extent to which the results of vulnerability mapping studies have been applied in decision-making. Accordingly we undertook a comprehensive review of 37 recently published papers that use geospatial techniques for assessing human vulnerability to heat. In addition, we conducted an anonymous survey of the lead authors of the 37 papers in order to establish the level of interaction between the researchers as science information producers and local authorities as information users. Both paper review and author survey results show that heat vulnerability mapping has been used in an attempt to communicate policy recommendations, raise awareness and induce institutional networking and learning, but has not as yet had a substantive influence on policymaking or preventive action. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat stress; vulnerability; mapping; decision support; implementation; awareness; local authorities heat stress; vulnerability; mapping; decision support; implementation; awareness; local authorities
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wolf, T.; Chuang, W.-C.; McGregor, G. On the Science-Policy Bridge: Do Spatial Heat Vulnerability Assessment Studies Influence Policy? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 13321-13349.

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