How researchers hope to combat urban heat island effect in Boston

When extreme heat sets in, it can feel even hotter in the city. This is known as the urban heat island effect.

“There are areas of Chelsea on the same day and time. It’s six or seven degrees hotter when you’re surrounded by pavement than if you’re in an area that has more greenspace and trees,” said Dr. Madeleine Scammell, an associate professor of environmental health at Boston University’s School of Public Health.

Scammell co-leads the Chelsea & East Boston Heat Study, C-HEAT, and says the difference in temperature is due to how cities are built.

“There’s a lot of paved surfaces, a lot of triple-decker homes with black rubber roofs,” she said. “So people experience the heat that’s been absorbed during the day and does not go away at night. It’s retained by the pavement and the heat absorbing surfaces.” Learn more about JPB Fellow Madeleine Scammell’s research.