As Summer Nears, 80 NYC Neighborhoods Ranked Highly Vulnerable to Heat

"60 to 70 percent of residents in those neighborhoods also reside in communities of color or low-income areas, defined by the city as disproportionately impacted “environmental justice” communities."

"NEW YORK—Outside the steps of her South Bronx apartment, Jill Hanson is thinking about the lack of green spaces as another hot summer descends upon New York City. Her neighborhood, Mott Haven, is among 80 communities considered highly threatened by humidity and high temperatures under a new Heat Vulnerability Index developed by Columbia University and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  

“We’re always cited as being one of the worst neighborhoods for the heat index problems and for not having any street trees,” said Hanson, 60, an architect. “So, I don’t really get why we can’t just get more street trees if the whole city is getting street trees.”

Hanson, who is white and owns her own apartment, said living in a low-income section of New York makes clear to her how poor city planning over the years has created barriers to green space in the South Bronx.

Coming off New York’s hottest year on record, as climate change amplifies risks related to high heat and heightens the disproportionate impacts on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, a new city report shows that more than 60 percent to 70 percent of residents in the most heat vulnerable neighborhoods live in such “environmental justice” communities."

Alastair Lee Bitsóí reports for Inside Climate News June 8, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 06/11/2024