Quantifying urban form via spatial metrics and its climatic implications
Debbage, Neil Andrew
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The spatial arrangement of cities can affect how urban environments alter regional moisture and energy balances, but the precise nature of these relationships is still not fully understood. The existing literature suggests that both sprawling and dense urban development can amplify urban heat and dry island intensities. Based on an analysis of PRISM climate data and spatial metrics calculated for the fifty largest metropolitan areas in the United States, it will be argued that a major factor in determining the magnitude of the urban heat and dry island effects is the spatial contiguity of urban development, regardless of its intensity level. At a time when over half the world’s population already suffers from the detrimental consequences of the urban heat and dry island effects, unraveling how urban morphology influences these phenomena, and ultimately the overall quality of life in large cities, will only become more important as urban expansion continues.
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