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

Lo, Alex Y., Jim, C. Y., Cheung, P. K., Wong, G. K. L. and Cheung, L. T. O. (2022) Space poverty driving heat stress vulnerability and the adaptive strategy of visiting urban parks. Cities, 127. p. 103740.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2022.103740
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8273

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