Social Vulnerability to Local Flooding and Heat in a City Landscape

Authors: Peleg Kremer*, Villanova University, Nicole Marks , Villanova University, Hossein Hosseiny, Villanova University, Michael Crimmins, Villanova University, Victoria Bill, Villanova University, Kirsten Ahn, Villanova University, Virginia Smith, Villanova University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Hazards and Vulnerability, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Stormwater runoff, surface temperature, social vulnerability, environmental vulnerability, climate change, city landscape
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 41
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Climate change exacerbates environmental challenges caused by urban growth. This study offers a multi-faceted approach to understanding socio-environmental vulnerability in cities by considering fine scale spatial distribution of socio-demographic metrics overlaid with modeled runoff and surface temperature. Stormwater runoff depth and surface temperature data for micro-subbasins in Philadelphia were estimated and integrated to create an Environmental Vulnerability Index. Social variables representing poverty, the elderly population, population density, and buildings with basements were used to develop a Social Vulnerability Index. The Environmental and Social Vulnerability Indices were combined using quadrant and hotspot analyses in order to 1) identify specific subbasins that are most vulnerable to negative environmental impacts and 2) identify entire regions of the city that would benefit from a focus on the implementation of new blue-green infrastructures. Results for the study city, Philadelphia, PA, indicated that neighborhoods in the southern region are most vulnerable to flooding and heat. The introduced approach can be used for any city and provides city managers with an environmentally-just, city-scale visualization for prioritizing areas in immediate need of mitigation practices.

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