Planning for Extreme Heat: A National Survey of U.S. Planners

Heat Resilience Strategies

Excited to share my latest co-authored paper with Sara Meerow, Planning for Extreme Heat: A National Survey of U.S. Planners, published in the Journal of the American Planning Association. In this paper, we discuss heat planning efforts, including heat mitigation and heat management, and share results from a survey of U.S. planners on extreme heat. We explore heat risk perceptions, impacts, strategies, plans, information needs, and barriers.


Extreme heat is the deadliest climate hazard in the United States. Climate change and the urban heat island effect are increasing the number of dangerously hot days in cities worldwide and the need for communities to plan for extreme heat. Existing literature on heat planning focuses on heat island mapping and modeling, whereas few studies delve into heat planning and governance processes. We surveyed planning professionals from diverse cities across the United States to establish critical baseline information for a growing area of planning practice and scholarship that future research can build on. Survey results show that planners are concerned with extreme heat risks, particularly environmental and public health impacts from climate change. Planners already report impacts from extreme heat, particularly to energy and water use, vegetation and wildlife, public health, and quality of life. Especially in affected communities, planners claim they address heat in plans and implement heat mitigation and management strategies such as urban forestry, emergency response, and weatherization, but perceive many barriers related to human and financial resources and political will.

The paper is online at