The City of Denver’s Climate Adaptation Plan recognizes increase in temperature, urban heat island effect, and extreme heat days as key potential climate change impacts for Denver in the coming years. In response to this growing threat Groundwork Denver initiated our Heat Resiliency project to focus on reducing the negative public health impacts of extreme heat on the low-income communities of North Denver (Globeville, Elyria and Swansea) and Commerce City.

Public Health Impacts

The public health impacts of extreme heat range from aggravating pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and respiratory illnesses, to more serious impacts including vital organ failure, heat stroke, and in some instances, death. These negative impacts are known to disproportionately impact certain populations including the elderly, infants, and people with chronic medical conditions. Additionally, the environmental factors of low-income communities increase the vulnerability of their residents due to factors such as poor housing stock, greater urban heat island effect, less mobility, lower social cohesion, and poor communication systems.

What Are We Doing to Help?

Using GIS mapping technologies, community surveys, education workshops, and resident interviews, the Heat Resiliency project aims to identify the vulnerabilities of the target low-income communities to extreme heat events. We will then prioritize strategies to address these vulnerabilities, develop an action plan to implement the strategies, and build the capacity of residents to play an active role in advocating for policies and projects that reflect their own priorities for climate resiliency. This project seeks to develop and implement strategies that reduce the disproportionate public health impacts of extreme heat in these neighborhoods and prepare the Denver Metro Area for the challenges we will have to face due to a warming climate.

Contact

If you have any questions about Groundwork Denver’s Heat Resiliency Project you can contact Melake Getabecha via email, melake@groundworkcolorado.org.

 

For information on extreme heat and keeping cool during extreme heat events see the links below:

National Weather Service:

Heat Safety Resources

Heat Waves: A Major Summer Killer

Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

Beat the Heat: Extreme Heat

Denver Health:

Heat, Sun, and UV Safety Tips

Natural Resources Defense Council:

Summer Heat and Climate Change