F&ES 976b / 2014-2015

Cities in Hot Water: Urban Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

Credits: 3

Spring 2015: Time and location TBA

This capstone class works with the City of New Haven as a partner to analyze and make recommendations for how city planners and engineers should cope with heat stress and extreme rainfalls in current and future climate conditions. Higher temperatures and larger rainfall variability are the two most severe climate stresses predicted to impact the Northeastern part of the US. The situation is further worsened in urban centers owing to the urban heat island effect and concentrated stormwater runoff. Students will be divided into teams, with each team consisting of members with complementary skills. Each team will work closely with city partners, as well as staff in the Yale Office of Sustainability, Community Alliance for Research and Engagement in the School of Public Health and Urban Resource Initiative in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Specific tasks will include: inventorying the efforts already underway in New Haven to prepare for changes in climate; reviewing existing urban climate strategies in major cities around the world; quantifying the likely range of severity of future climate stresses in the New Haven region; and identifying the impacts of these stressors on the lives of local residents. The final deliverable of the class is a detailed urban climate mitigation and adaptation plan for the City of New Haven, with a special emphasis on addressing the health impacts of heat stress and increased flooding. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in actual field implementation of one or more mitigation actions. Assessment of student performance will be based on class participation, class presentations, writing assignments, client feedback and peer evaluations