Fine-scale mapping of an evidence-based heat health risk index for high-density cities: Hong Kong as a case study.

Affiliation

Department of Urban Planning and Design, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China; Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The most recent extreme heat recorded in Europe re-alerts the world to the threat of heat stress. Future extreme heat events are reported to be more frequent, long-lasting, and intense. The intense exposure to hot temperatures can cause an excess of heat-related deaths, leading to an increasing risk of heat-related health. In reducing Heat Health Risk (HHR), the use of fine-scale evidence-based mapping of heat-related health risk index (HHRI) and its underlying contributors is essential for policy-making and site-specific action plans. However, its use is still considered to be at an early stage, especially in high-density cities like Hong Kong. This study conducted a spatially explicit assessment of HHR in Hong Kong and constructed a HHRI based on indicators categorized through Principle Component Analysis (PCA) into four meaningful components representing social/language, social isolation, socioeconomic, and urbanization/environmental risks. The applicability of the index was validated against heat-related mortality data at the community level. The community-level maps of HHRI and its subcomponents revealed that portions of Kowloon Peninsula had always suffered exceptionally high HHR ten years ago and after, but the hot spots and problematic communities experienced displacement and the dominant underlying factors of their HHR also varied. Results also showed that HHRI correlated fairly well with the heat-related deaths ratio (R2 = 0.60) at the community level for most of Hong Kong (62.33% of all communities that contain 81.69% of total population). Our analysis results helped generate an evidence-based index to assess HHR in high-density cities like Hong Kong and provided fine-scale maps of the index and its subcomponents, with the aim of benefiting site-specific policy making and optimizing the existing action plans.

Keywords

Daily mortality,Extreme heat,Heat-related health risk,High-density cities,Hong Kong,Public health,

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