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Some parts of the city are warmer than others: U of A study tells us why

Researchers found urban hotspots, also known as urban heat islands, in areas of Edmonton – Sarah Chew finds out how they may impact your health and how you can beat the heat this summer.

By CityNews Staff

Heat comes as no surprise to us in the summer, but depending on where you are in Edmonton, you could be sweating while other residents may need a sweater. The reason? Urban heat islands.

“Urban heat islands are the warmer urban areas compared to surrounding rural areas, University of Alberta researcher Nilusha Welegedara tells CityNews. “It’s kind of hotspots in the city.”

Researchers at the University of Alberta found these hotspots through a neighbourhood study and discovered the north side of Edmonton is hotter than the south side – but why?

“Urban heat islands [are] mainly caused by the man-made structures replacing natural areas,” Welegedara says, “So increasing buildings and parking lots, roads, all have an effect on increasing the urban heat islands.”

The researchers say that urban heat islands can even impact our health since they make heat waves worse according to Welegedara. “It increases the heat-related illnesses and deaths and especially affects vulnerable people such as elderly and kids and the people who already have some health issues such as respiratory problems and cardiac problems.”

The solution for the city is to increase green space with more urban forestry, vertical gardening and including more bodies of water. The researcher says they’ll be submitting a report to the city to encourage these preventative measures, but the city of Edmonton did not give a comment to CityNews about their current projects at this time.

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