Urban heat islands vividly illustrate the price humans will pay in the world’s growing climate crisis. With an abundance of concrete and little shade, they get hotter faster and stay hotter longer. And the people who live there are often sicker, poorer and less able to protect themselves.
Rising temperatures in these neighborhoods will mean more trips to the hospital for heart, kidney and lung ailments. Drugs to treat mental illness and diabetes won’t work as well. Pregnant women will give birth to children with more medical problems.
Solutions exist. But growing more trees, repairing the frayed social fabric of a neighborhood or rebuilding streets and sidewalks to reflect heat are expensive — and take time. For cities like Baltimore, the clock is ticking.
In Baltimore, the burden of rising temperatures isn’t shared.Read more
For people with chronic health conditions, heat and humidity is more than a summer nuisance.Read more
Poor neighborhoods in Baltimore have far less tree canopy than wealthier neighborhoods.Read more
Are government leaders and residents ready to act?Read more
As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most.Read more
Trees Are Key To Fighting Urban Heat — But Cities Keep Losing ThemRead more
How High Heat Can Impact Mental HealthRead more
A look at how and why we reported the seriesRead more
ABOUT THIS PROJECT: This work is a collaboration between the University of Maryland's Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and Capital News Service, NPR, Wide Angle Youth Media in Baltimore and WMAR television. Learn more about the reporting behind the stories here. Read the first installment of this investigation into the effects of climate change on public health in Baltimore, "Bitter Cold."
FUNDING FOR THE PROJECT: Support for this project comes from generous grants from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the Online News Association’s Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The ONA grant is backed by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the Rita Allen Foundation and the Scripps Howard Foundation.