Planning Professor Ladd Keith on Heat as an Emerging Climate Risk for Urban, Low-Income Communities
Ladd Keith, assistant professor of planning and chair of the Sustainable Built Environments undergraduate degree program at the University of Arizona’s College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, was quoted in a Climate XChange story on December 1, 2020: “In Las Vegas, hotter days will impact low-income, Black and Brown residents the most.”
Keith notes how “the way Las Vegas has been developed is a huge contributor to the heat faced by poorer communities,” according to the article. The more concrete and less green space, the hotter the neighborhoods—and in Las Vegas, the fastest-warming city in America according to Climate Central, the affluent neighborhoods have far more green space and tree coverage.
“There is still a lot of work to be done in addressing urban heat and its environmental justice impacts,” the article states, paraphrasing Keith.
Read the article for further insight from Keith, who also notes how urban heat solutions can come about through risk management and urban greening, and that cities need to experiment to find the best solutions for their needs.
Keith, who joined CAPLA in 2009, is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the intersection of urban planning and climate science and explores how climate action planning can make more sustainable and resilient cities. He is currently the principal investigator of a NOAA-funded research project evaluating the use of urban heat maps in urban planning and is co-investigator on a project developing community climate profiles tailored to local needs. In addition to founding and leading the Sustainable Built Environments program, Keith teaches public participation and dispute resolution and planning for urban resilience. He contributed to the development and analysis of a number of land use and development regulations, comprehensive plans, hazard mitigation plans and climate action plans and recently completed a full eight-year term on the City of Tucson's Planning Commission.