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Journal article

Heat stress risk and resilience in the urban environment

6 Oct 2016

Heatwaves have been subject to significant attention in Australia and globally due to their negative impacts on the ecosystem, infrastructure, human health and social life. Measures to increase resilience to heatwaves, however, are mostly isolated in different disciplines. This paper proposes a framework integrating urban and infrastructure planning, building design, public health and social research, to comprehensively assess heat stress resilience. The proposed framework can assist decision makers in the evaluation of different policy changes addressing heat stress resilience and contribute to more comprehensive and effective heatwave management.

An online survey was undertaken with a representative sample (N = 393) from Adelaide, South Australia, to explore heat stress resistance of the built environment, adaptation and heat-related, self-reported health problems. The study established the magnitudes of the secondary negative impacts of heatwaves on public health and daily routines. The findings identify a low level of resistance to heat stress by the built environment. It was concluded that community education along with focused building and planning regulations has the potential to significantly increase heat stress resilience.

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