Effects of Greenspace Configuration on the Urban Heat Island in Kansas City, MO

Authors: Elizabeth Wesley*, University of Kansas, Nathaniel Brunsell, University of Kansas
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: urban heat island, greenspace, urban, pattern, landscape metrics
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The process of urbanization is accompanied by a suite of surface alterations that modify energy flows, including the replacement of soil and vegetation with impervious surfaces like concrete and asphalt, producing novel ecosystems whose dynamics are controlled by coupled human-natural systems. A well known characteristic of urban areas is an increase in temperature relative to surrounding rural areas known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect, a consequence of anthropogenic heat, decreased albedo, increased thermal capacity, and decreased evapotranspiration. The increase in sensible heat flux due to the decreased latent heat flux resulting from the lack of vegetated surfaces contributes heavily to the UHI effect. Consequently, the spatial distribution of UHIs is strongly dependent on the presence or absence of vegetation, and the pattern of urban greenspace influences the distribution and magnitude of land surface temperature (LST). To investigate the relationship between greenspace pattern and UHIs in the Kansas City metro area we conducted a multi-resolution wavelet analysis of five Landsat scenes to determine the dominant length scales of LST. We then used these scales as extents within which to calculate landscape metrics on a high-resolution land cover map. We will use these metrics to investigate whether, controlling for the percent vegetated area, patch size, fragmentation, shape, complexity, and/or proximity can help mitigate heat island effects in urban areas. This information can be used by urban planners to optimize greenspace configuration in cities.

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