Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments

This tool kit is designed to help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing clear criteria for selecting among these approaches. 

It also examines the roles government can play in pursuing these changes: shaping government’s own operations, mandating or providing incentives for private choices, and engaging in public education. The menu of options it provides does not prescribe a particular path for all communities. Instead, it offers a complete list of options and the means to select among them to fit particular circumstances.

Each of the four main chapters provides examples of mandates, incentives, public education programs, and government operations for each strategy. Each chapter also concludes with a set of “no-regrets” policies that local officials may undertake that provide multiple benefits including public health, air quality, and energy efficiency, in addition to reducing urban heat impacts. Some of the options (e.g., cool or green roofs) also provide mitigation benefits (in the form of reduced energy use and emissions) as well as building resilience in communities affected by increased urban heat. Others, such as cool permeable pavements, curb storm-water runoff as well as heat.

Publication Date: August 2012

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  • Legal Analysis
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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