Are redlined communities more at risk from the heat? Scientists want to find out

Jul 14, 2023, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:18 am

SALT LAKE CITY -- Some Utah scientists and students are conducting a study to find out the hottest ...

The sun shines down on pedestrians as they walk across the street in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah scientists and students are conducting a study to find out the hottest parts of Salt Lake City, and whether certain areas are more at risk from the heat than others. 

Urban Heat Island effect typically makes urban areas hotter. So, Rowland Hall’s science teacher Robert Wilson is leading a study for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with Utah State University to find out whether any urban neighborhoods will be more at risk from the heat. They call it the urban climate justice project.

An adult and student pose next to a poster about the urban heat island effect several people stand looking at a poster about the urban heat island effect

Photos provided by Rowland Hall Content Associate Ashley Atwood

“We’re looking at that burden of risk caused by heat and to see what neighborhoods have it, and then identify, well what can we do for these neighborhoods?” Wilson said. “Can we put in splash pads, does the city have the opportunity to plant trees?”

Wilson said they’ll look to see if some of the city’s west-side neighborhoods that were historically refused insurance because of factors like race, also known as redlining, correspond with hotter temperatures.

“All of our high-risk neighborhoods are to the West,” he explained. “In environmental justice and climate justice questions in cities, we know that redlined neighborhoods throughout the state are often at higher risk for environmental hazards like heat waves. ”

All day Saturday teams will drive 20-mile-long routes sampling temperatures in every region of the city. Wilson says they should have data in six to eight weeks.

Related Reading: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased ...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Summit County to acquire largest open space in its history for $55 million

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased after grant funding is made available in 2025.

4 hours ago

great salt lake shown, lithium in the lake is attracting companies...

Adam Small

A trove of lithium in Great Salt Lake is turning heads. Managers drafting rules to protect the water

Extraction companies are interested in lithium in the Great Salt Lake, but state managers want to set rules to prevent the loss of lake water.

10 hours ago

container garden shown...

Mitchell von Puttkammer

How to plant in a container garden

Maria, Taun, and their guest cover practical tips on how to successfully plant a vibrant container garden. Listen to the KSL Greenhouse show.

14 hours ago

Funnel clouds were spotted in Midway in September 2020. (Courtesy of Cameron Gibby)...

Peter Johnston

Utah tornado reports are up, but actual number are level

Utah tornado sightings are up in number however, many of those reports are never reach actual tornado status.

15 hours ago

Life jackets are pictured at the Saratoga Springs Marina at Utah Lake on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022....

Curt Gresseth

Come on in, the water’s fine (but remember to wear a life jacket)

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation law enforcement chief shares his knowledge and experience with selecting the right life jacket and using it safely.

19 hours ago

High amounts of spring runoff cause swelling of rivers across the state....

Esme Sanchez Estevez

Spring runoff concerns in Salt Lake County

Kade Moncur, Director of Public Works Engineering with Salt Lake County talk through the recent spring runoff concerns with resources to be use this summer.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Are redlined communities more at risk from the heat? Scientists want to find out