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Heat Action Planning

This UREx SRN Research Theme Focused on:

  1. Transforming detailed, local, contextual accounting of how residents currently and historically cope with rising temperatures into actionable strategies and design interventions in their neighborhoods via collaborative workshops.
  2. Co-developing a community Heat Action Planning Framework and Heat Action Planning Guides for various neighborhoods in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
  3. Co-presenting city Heat Action Plans to city officials and county planners.

About Heat Action Planning

In Greater Phoenix, urban heat is impacting health, safety, and the economy and these impacts are expected to worsen over time. The number of days above 110˚F are projected to more than double by 2060. In May 2017, project partners launched a participatory Heat Action Planning process in the Edison-Eastlake Community, Mesa Care Neighborhood, and in Lindo Park- Roesley Park Neighborhood to identify both mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce heat directly and improve the ability of residents to deal with heat. Community based organizations in these three neighborhoods later joined the project team: Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, RAILMesa, and Puente Movement. Beyond building a community Heat Action Plan and completing demonstration projects, this participatory process was designed to develop awareness, agency, and social cohesion in underrepresented communities. Furthermore, the Heat Action Planning process was designed to serve as a model for future heat resilience efforts and create a local, contextual, and culturally appropriate vision of a safer, healthier future. The iterative planning and engagement method used by the project team strengthened relationships within and between neighborhoods, community-based organizations, decision- makers, and the core team, and it combined storytelling wisdom and scientific evidence to better understand current and future challenges residents face during extreme heat events.

Project Partners

  • Nature Conservancy
  • Maricopa County Department of Public Health
  • Central Arizona Conservation Alliance
  • Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network
  • Arizona State University’s Urban Climate Research Center
  • Center for Whole Communities

Heat Action Strategic Themes

  • Advocate and Educate
  • Improve Comfort/Ability to Cope
  • Improve Safety
  • Build Capacity


As a result of workshops and collaboration with various community members, recommendations were provided from the three neighborhoods involved on how to improve thermal comfort. Heat Action Strategic Themes emerged to create climate-resilient cities, provide public health and safety, and support the transformation to a cooler city. To scale this approach, project team members recommend a) continued engagement with and investments into these neighborhoods to implement change signaled by residents as vital, b) repeating the heat action planning process with community leaders in other neighborhoods, and c) working with cities, urban planners, and other stakeholders to institutionalize this process, supporting policies, and the use of proposed metrics for creating cooler communities. Heat Action Planning Guides were then created for , , and in .