Advertisement

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 429–433 | Cite as

The heat penalty of walkable neighbourhoods

  • Grace A. O’Brien
  • Nancy A. Ross
  • Ian B. StrachanEmail author
Short Communication

Abstract

“Walkability” or walking-friendliness is generally considered a favourable attribute of a neighbourhood that supports physical activity and improves health outcomes. Walkable neighbourhoods tend to have high-density infrastructure and relatively high amounts of concrete and pavement for sidewalks and streets, all of which can elevate local urban temperatures. The objective of this study was to assess whether there is a “heat penalty” associated with more walkable neighbourhoods in Montréal, Québec, Canada, using air temperature measurements taken in real time at street level during a heat event. The mean temperature of “Car-Dependent” neighbourhoods was 26.2 °C (95% CI 25.8, 26.6) whereas the mean temperature of “Walker’s Paradise” neighbourhoods was 27.9 °C (95% CI 27.8, 28.1)—a difference of 1.7 °C (95% CI 1.3, 2.0). There was a strong association between higher walkability of Montréal neighbourhoods and elevated temperature (r = 0.61, p < 0.01); suggestive of a heat penalty for walkable neighbourhoods. Planning solutions that support increased walking-friendliness of neighbourhoods should consider simultaneous strategies to mitigate heat to reduce potential health consequences of the heat penalty.

Keywords

Urban heat Walkability 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Thomas Herrmann for assistance in the Walk Score® data processing and preparation of Fig. 1. NAR is supported by the Canada Research Chairs programme.

Funding information

Funding to support this research was provided by the Trottier Chair in Science and Public Policy.

References

  1. Boer R, Zheng Y, Overton A, Ridgeway GK, Cohen DA (2007) Neighborhood design and walking trips in ten U.S. metropolitan areas. Am J Prev Med 32(4):298–304.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2006.12.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Creatore MI, Glazier RH, Moinedin R et al (2016) Association of neighborhood walkability with change in overweight, obesity, and diabetes. JAMA 315(20):2211–2220.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.5898 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Duncan D, Aldstat J, Whalen J, Melly S, Gortmaker S (2011) Validation of walk score® for estimating neighborhood walkability: an analysis of four US metropolitan areas. Int J Environ Res Public Health 8(11):4160–4179.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph8114160 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Environment Canada, 2018. Historical climate data archive. http://climate.weather.gc.ca/historical_data/search_historic_data_e.html
  5. Graham DA, Vanos JK, Kenny NA, Brown RD (2016) The relationship between neighbourhood tree canopy cover and heat-related ambulance calls during extreme heat events in Toronto. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 20:180–186.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2016.08.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hajna S, Ross NA, Brazeau AS, Belisle P, Joseph L, Dasgupta K (2015) Associations between neighbourhood walkability and daily steps in adults: a systemic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health 15:768.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2082-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harlan SL, Brazel AJ, Prashad L, Stefanov WL, Larsen L (2006) Neighborhood microclimates and vulnerability to heat stress. Soc Sci Med 63(11):2847–2863.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.07.030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Herrmann T, Boisjoly G, Ross NA, El-Geneidy A (2017) The missing middle: filling the gap between walkability and observed walking behavior. Transp Res Rec: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2661:103–110.  https://doi.org/10.3141/2661-12 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hirsch JA, Moore KA, Evenson KR, Rodriquez DA, Diez Roux AV (2013) Walk Score® and Transit Score® and walking in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Am J Prev Med 45(2):158–166.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2013.03.018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hwang R-L, Lin T-P, Matzarakis A (2011) Seasonal effects of urban street shading on long-term outdoor thermal comfort. Build Environ 46(4):863–870.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2010.10.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kärmeniemi M, Lankila T, Ikäheimo T, Korpelainen R (2018) The built environment as a determinant of physical activity: a systematic review of longitudinal studies and natural experiments. Ann Behav Med 52(3):239–251.  https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kax043 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McCormack GR, Blackstaffe A, Nettel-Aguirre A, Csizmadi I, Sandalack B, Alaniz Uribe F, Rayes A, Friedenreich C, Potestio ML (2018) The independent associations between Walk Score® and neighborhood socioeconomic status, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index among urban adults. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15(6):1226.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061226 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Méline J, Chaix B, Pannier B, Ogedegbe G, Trasande L, Athens J, Duncan DT (2017) Neighborhood walk score and selected Cardiometabolic factors in the French RECORD cohort study. BMC Public Health 17(1):960.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4962-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Noro M, Lazzarin R (2015) Urban heat island in Padua, Italy: simulation analysis and mitigation strategies. Urban Clim 14(2):187–196.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.uclim.2015.01.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Paravantis J, Santamouris M, Cartalis C, Efthymiou C, Kontoulis N (2017) Mortality associated with high ambient temperatures, heatwaves, and the urban heat island in Athens, Greece. Sustainability 9:606.  https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040606 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rodriguez-Algeciras J, Tablada A, Matzarakis A (2017) Effect of asymmetrical street canyons on pedestrian thermal comfort in warm-humid climate of Cuba. Theor Appl Climatol 133:663–679.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-017-2204-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sallis JF, Cerin EC, Conway TL, Adams MA, Frank LD, Pratt M, Salvo D, Schipperijn J, Smith G, Cain KL, Davey R, Kerr J, Lai PC, Mitáš J, Reis R, Sarmiento OL, Schofield G, Troelsen J, van Dyck D, de Bourdeaudhuij I, Owen N (2016) Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study. Lancet 387(10034):2207–2217.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01284-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Santamouris M, Synnefa A, Karlessi T (2011) Using advanced cool materials in the urban built environment to mitigate heat islands and improve thermal comfort conditions. Sol Energy 85(12):3085–3102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Smargiassi A, Goldberg MS, Plante C, Fournier M, Baudouin Y, Kosatsky T (2009) Variation of daily warm season mortality as a function of micro-urban heat islands. Epidemiol Commun Health 63(8):659–664.  https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2008.078147 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Smoyer KE, Rainham DG, Hewko JN (2000) Heat-stress-related mortality in five cities in Southern Ontario: 1998-1996. Int J Biometeorol 44(4):190–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Taleai M, Yameqani AS (2018) Integration of GIS, remote sensing and multi-criteria evaluation tools in the search for healthy walking paths. KSCE J Civ Eng 22(1):279–291.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12205-017-2538-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wasfi R, Dasgupta K, Eluru N, Ross NA (2016a) Exposure to walkable neighbourhoods in urban areas increases utilitarian walking: longitudinal study of Canadians. J Transport Health 106(5):934–940Google Scholar
  23. Wasfi R, Dasgupta K, Orpana H, Ross NA (2016b) Neighborhood walkability and body mass index trajectories: longitudinal study of Canadians. Am J Public Health 106(5):934–940.  https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303096 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yahia MW, Johansson E (2014) Landscape interventions in improving thermal comfort in the hot dry city of Damascus, Syria—the example of residential spaces with detached buildings. Landsc Urban Plan 125:1–16.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.01.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of Natural Resource SciencesMcGill UniversitySte Anne de BellevueCanada

Personalised recommendations