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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Heat Resilience Planning in San Diego: Local Plans, Barriers, and Tools to Facilitate Strategy Implementation

The data associated with this publication are within the manuscript.

Heat resilience strategies are necessary to protect against adverse heat impacts in urban environments as extreme heat continues to increase in frequency and intensity due to climate change. Urban planners play a key role in designing and implementing these strategies, and collaboration across agencies and jurisdictions is crucial to building more effective heat governance. The City of San Diego’s Climate Resilient San Diego plan includes heat resilience strategies that the City plans to implement in the next five years, which include expanding access to Cool Zones, increasing the urban tree canopy, creating an urban greening program, and implementing cool pavement, cool roofs, and green roofs.

The purpose of this project was first to understand San Diego heat resilience plans and policies, which was accomplished by a review of applicable California State policy and relevant San Diego plans. The next aim was to identify barriers that City of San Diego urban planners face in implementing heat resilience strategies and understand what strategies they believe should be prioritized and what tools may be useful to facilitate action. This was accomplished by conducting a survey of the City of San Diego Planning department. Lastly, these survey responses were used to develop a tool that will help the City meet stated goals in the Climate Resilient San Diego plan and make it easier to implement heat resilience strategies to achieve the most effective outcomes. The tool format is interactive ArcGIS maps and a StoryMap created for the City to use and integrate throughout relevant plans. The results of these maps identify recommended priority zip codes for City planners to consider implementing community outreach and heat resilience strategies based on heat susceptibility and different variables correlating with their heat resilience strategies. Recommendations were made based on survey results, map findings, and heat resilience planning best practices explored through applicable research.

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