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Heatwave vulnerability index – Adelaide

February 21, 2017

If you are wondering where to target your next WSUD project in Adelaide’s suburbs to create cooler shaded streetscapes and public open spaces, visit the heat-related vulnerability index map for Adelaide produced by Monash University, in association with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, or download the full report – A spatial vulnerability analysis of urban populations during extreme heat events in Australian capital cities.

Heatwaves in Australia have a greater negative impact on population health than any other natural hazard. As climate change progresses, heat exposure stands to cause additional heat-related illness and death, especially for the most vulnerable groups such as older people, young children, people with chronic disease and those living in built-up areas in cities.

Key findings from the report for spatial indices of population vulnerability include:

  • Variables featuring strongly in the vulnerability indices across all cities are: The presence of an urban heat island, areas with high numbers of older residents, and people who required assistance with daily activities (disabilities). Older people and people with disabilities often live in the higher density (hotter) areas of the city. We need to understand people and place in exposure assessments and developing specific responses to area-specific problems.
  • Ethnicity was also an important factor, with higher risk noted in non-English speaking homes i.e. people living in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Stressing the need to provide culturally appropriate information systems is a vital step to help migrant communities manage the heat during Australian summers.
  • Areas of high vulnerability tended to cluster beyond the inner city areas, with several cities showing an increase in risk along the urban fringe.

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