SCC-Planning: Building Capacity for Smart and Connected Management of Thermal Extremes

Project: Research project

Description

Overview:
Extreme thermal eventsperiods of hot or cold weatherrepresent the nations leading cause of weather-related mortality that have substantial impacts on human life. Complex urban landscapes act as a significant modifier of localized thermal conditions. This planning grant will examine how localized differences in exposure and coping capacity of residents may impact the effectiveness of agencies, organizations, and individuals to respond to thermal events in Tempe, Arizona and Buffalo, New York. The objectives are to 1) examine existing practices in U.S. cities, 2) document current approaches to management of thermal extremes and supporting data streams, as well as barriers to effective management and desired data and 3) collaborate with agencies in Tempe and Buffalo to design a research-action approach that integrates social and technological infrastructure to build capacity in agencies to manage the impacts of thermal extremes. The methods will include 1) piloting an integrated assessment of management of thermal extremes, 2) co-producing a semi-structured interview instrument for use with U.S. city agencies, and 3) collaborating on a Smart and Connected Thermal Management integrated framework with community partners that will serve as the basis for activities continuing beyond the planning grant period, including submission of a 2018 SCC Integrative Research Grant.

Intellectual Merit:
The planning grant activity has the potential to advance knowledge and understanding of how agencies and researchers should collaboratively build capacity for smart and connected management of thermal extremes. Currently, many agencies approach managing thermal extremes on a case-by-case basis with little coordination within and between various institutions. The intellectual merit of this planning grant derives from the mapping of best institutional practices and identification of gaps in knowledge to effectively monitor and address vulnerability to thermal extremes. Within the last decade researchers have been moving toward a better articulation of management of thermal environments; however a more systematic approach linked with management practices would allow agencies and researchers in different bioclimate urban regions to share and co-create knowledge. This planning grant aims to facilitate that effort to more comprehensively advance our understanding of how to effectively couple management of thermal environments with other societal goals.

Broader Impacts:
The proposed activity will benefit society by advancing our understanding of social-technological approaches to reduce thermal mortality and morbidity while enhancing thermal comfort. Specifically, the planning grant activity will provide an integrated assessment tool for connecting research with practice-based approaches for management of thermal extremes. The framework will include an improved method for linking thermal, health, energy, transit, and other relevant data streams to local agency programs to achieve quality of life and well-being goals. This effort will also provide generalizable approaches and guidance to help city operations become more effective and coordinated overall in managing complex and sometimes competing priorities.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/1712/31/18

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $100,000.00

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capacity building
mortality
urban region
morbidity
building planning
quality of life
planning
management practice
vulnerability
infrastructure
weather
energy
city