Data Shows Eugene’s Urban Heat Islands

Oct 4, 2017

The coolest part of Eugene is in the south hills. We’re talking temperature here. A researcher collected data on urban heat islands and shares strategies for ways to help cool our cities and adapt to climate change.

Vivek Shandas is a Professor of urban climate adaptation at Portland State University. He and his team collected data one day in the summer of 2016—taking thousands of temperature readings throughout Eugene and Springfield. He says one of the hottest places was just east of I-5 in a box store parking lot.
“Where there’s large asphalt blacktop, very little canopy, absorbing heat throughout the day.”
Shandas says, especially in the U.S., there’s a relationship between where it’s really hot and where those with limited access to resources including people of color and the elderly live.
“When we see that kind of social vulnerability emerge in these heat islands the question I hope the city’s asking is how do we actually start engaging with those communities and then how to we start actively planning for those areas to mitigate some of the heat?”
Shandas says ways to cool down neighborhoods include changing the color of surfaces so they reflect sunlight, also adding shade and improving airflow. The city of Eugene is hoping to use this information in its urban planning.

Vivek Shandas is presenting his findings to the public tonight (10/4) from 6:30 - 7:30 at Willamette Hall, Rm 100, on the UO campus in Eugene.