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Cool path in cities: a citizen science approach

Grant number: 23/08552-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Giuliano Maselli Locosselli
Grantee:Leticia Figueiredo Candido
Supervisor: Prashant Kumar
Host Institution: Instituto de Pesquisas Ambientais (IPA). Secretaria de Meio Ambiente, Infraestrutura e Logística (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Surrey, England  
Associated to the scholarship:20/14163-2 - Monitoring urban trees sap flow and carbon allocation, BP.DD


Cities growth and anthropogenic activities change the landscape and increase the levels of CO2 concentration, contributing to severe environmental issues and climate change. Thereduction in green cover and use of materials with high heat retention in the grey infrastructure leads to the formation of heat islands in urban areas. Such heat islands make cities especially vulnerable to heat waves that are prolonged periods of excessively high temperature usually lasting for several days. Heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense worldwide leading to severe impacts on human health, which include dehydration, cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, strokes, mainly in children and elderly people. Thus, it is important for individuals and communities to be aware of the risks and take measures to protect themselves under extreme weather conditions. This study aims to assess the public perception on thermal comfort, engage the population to support climate change adaption and to investigate and propose cool paths in Guilford (England) in the summer as a way to mitigate the effects of heat waves on people's health. We will use the thermal infrared images from high resolution satellites to map the variation in surface temperatures across a district of Guilford and will cross validate the remote data using local measurements obtained with thermal cameras. These images will be taken by the local population so that citizens understand how surface temperature varies with land-use cover, and how green infrastructure helps to create cool paths during heatwaves. We will first interview participants to assess their perception on thermal comfort and possible cool paths during heat waves. We will then instruct the participants to use thermography techniques, such as iPads coupled with an external thermal sensor, to investigate the surrounding areas. The thermal images are very engaging, illustrating hot and cool zones, enabling participants to understand heat sources and develop their own understanding on the effects of heat islands, heat waves, and the possible benefits of green infrastructure on human health. Similar approach will take place later on in Sao Paulo to assess the differences in citizens' perception between temperate and subtropical cities. (AU)

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