- Director of Research
- Coordinator, MS in Urban Planning for Transition
Like many cities, Philadelphia is already experiencing the effects of climate change. Some of the impacts that the city is experiencing include:
- Rising temperatures: Philadelphia is experiencing hotter summers, which can lead to heat-related illnesses and deaths, as well as increased demand for energy to power air conditioning systems.
- Increased rainfall: Philadelphia is also experiencing more frequent and intense rainfall events, which can cause flooding and damage to infrastructure and homes.
- Sea level rise: As a coastal city, Philadelphia is at risk from sea level rise, which can cause flooding and erosion along the Delaware River and its tributaries.
- Air quality: Climate change can worsen air quality by increasing the concentration of pollutants in the air. This can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues for the residents of Philadelphia.
To address these impacts, the city has developed a Climate Action Plan, which includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and promote sustainable transportation options. Additionally, Philadelphia is investing in green infrastructure projects, such as rain gardens and green roofs, to help manage stormwater and reduce the risk of flooding..
The negative effects of climate change are not limited to any specific part of Philadelphia but are felt citywide. However, some neighborhoods and communities may be more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to factors such as their location, infrastructure, and socioeconomic status.
For example, low-lying areas and areas near waterways may be more vulnerable to flooding and erosion caused by sea level rise and intense rainfall events. Additionally, neighborhoods with older housing stock and inadequate infrastructure may be more vulnerable to the impacts of extreme heat and poor air quality.
To address these disparities and ensure that all residents are protected from the impacts of climate change, the City of Philadelphia's Climate Action Plan includes a focus on equity and resilience planning. The plan includes strategies to prioritize investment in vulnerable communities, increase access to green space and shade, and improve emergency preparedness and response.
The studio projects address the threat of climate change, but also investigate the idea of vertical city and examining building functionality. The high-rise buildings acted as multifunctional spaces providing a variety of amenities to their users.
The urban plan addressed ways to positively influence city life, while also incorporating elements designed to combat climate change issues.
The intense exploration of the Smart and Healthy Cities Studio led to a deep understanding of how Philadelphia needed to adapt to improve life in the urban environment, and combat issues arising due to climate change.
Climate change has significant impacts on population health, and these impacts are expected to worsen in the future if action is not taken to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Some of the ways that climate change can affect population health include:
- Increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events: Climate change can lead to more frequent and intense heatwaves, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. These extreme weather events can cause direct injuries and deaths, as well as indirect health impacts such as stress, anxiety, and mental health problems.
- Spread of vector-borne diseases: Climate change can lead to changes in the distribution of mosquitoes and other vectors that can transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus. As these vectors expand their range, more people are at risk of contracting these diseases.
- Air pollution: Climate change can exacerbate air pollution by increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires, dust storms, and other natural disasters. This can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues, particularly in vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly.
- Food insecurity: Climate change can also affect food production and distribution, leading to food shortages and malnutrition. This can lead to a range of health problems, particularly in developing countries.
- Water insecurity: Climate change can also affect water availability and quality, leading to increased risk of water-borne diseases and other health problems.
Overall, climate change poses significant risks to population health, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those living in low-income countries. Addressing the impacts of climate change is essential to protect the health and well-being of populations around the world.