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Exploring Connections between Low Albedo, Urban Heat Islands and Social Justice

Author(s): Denise Piechnik

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

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This exercise explores circumstances of urban heat islands in the United States using spatial data, including an exploration of heat island solutions.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 2.1 - published on 14 May 2021 doi:10.25334/40CF-Q206 - cite this


This exercise centers on the physical principle of albedo, or how surface color affects the amount of heat that is absorbed, and the resulting temperature increase in urban areas to create urban heat islands. GIS data and video sources provide background information to examine circumstances of poverty and redlining in urban heat islands in the United States.  A brief exploration of the possible solutions to tackle the problem of heat islands is also a part of this exercise. 


  • V2.1 - updated access to map presentation to view data on web browser using embedded link
  • V2 - added additional background and approach, modified pagination, included footer, modified data panel information to include questions as "Knowledge Checks" to prepare for data interpretation.
  • V1 Draft of exercise uploaded as *.doc

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