Space poverty driving heat stress vulnerability and the adaptive strategy of visiting urban parks

Alex Y. LO, Chi Yung JIM, Pui Kwan CHEUNG, Kwan Lam Gwendolyn WONG, Ting On Lewis CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Climate change and urbanisation have exacerbated social inequities. Increasing urban heat has made high-density housing units a vulnerability hotspot. Alternatives to extended air-conditioning are required. This research sought evidence on using urban parks as a sustainable alternative by low-income households deprived of adequate living space. We interviewed occupants of tiny flats (approx. 10 m2), known as subdivided units, and compared their park visiting routines and thermal comfort practices with other urban dwellers in Hong Kong. The substandard conditions of these small units have contributed to dwellers' sensitivity and lower capacity to adapt to summer heat, resulting in heat-related illness. The space-poor households have taken a wider range of adaptive actions and visited urban parks more frequently for cooling. Their higher mobility between home and nearby parks has shortened their home-stay time that would otherwise demand residential space cooling. The findings are important for reconsidering and redressing the uneven distribution of urban green spaces. Poor housing conditions and heat stress have forced disadvantaged households to seek refuge from natural cool spaces, such as vegetated and shaded areas of urban parks. Measures for increasing their accessibility, availability and capacity for heat mitigation are conducive to pro-poor and pro-climate spatial planning. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103740
JournalCities
Volume127
Early online dateMay 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Citation

Lo, A. Y., Jim, C. Y., Cheung, P. K., Wong, G. K. L., & Cheung, L. T. O. (2022). Space poverty driving heat stress vulnerability and the adaptive strategy of visiting urban parks. Cities, 127. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2022.103740

Keywords

  • Urban park
  • Substandard housing
  • Pro-poor planning
  • Air conditioning
  • Thermal comfort
  • Climate change adaptation

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