Urban Heat Research

In January 2015 R4C started an evaluation of a project that is focusing on the issue of heatwaves and the impact that they can have on vulnerable communities.

The Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster has been awarded funding by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to run an action research project looking at how to build community resilience to heat wave events.

R4C have been commissioned to play a role as ‘critical friend evaluator’ throughout the research helping the project better understand its full impact. 

A year on and nine community workshops later the evaluation process is in full swing. The project is working with communities in Hounslow, Tooting and Hackney, each with different characteristics which means that they may well experience the impact of a Heatwave in very different ways.

The evaluation of this phase of the project has looked at the engagement process which has largely been delivered through the community workshops. Mike observed at 3 workshops, one in each location, he debriefed the facilitation team after each workshop and all participants were asked to fill in evaluation questionnaires at the end of each event.

The emerging results suggest that people’s awareness of the potential impact of Heat is very low, as opposed to their knowledge of the dangers of cold weather. However, there is also a great opportunity for cross cultural exchange as many communities who originated outside of the UK came from a much hotter climate and therefore have strategies for dealing with Heatwaves to share.

The evaluation now moves onto developing an understanding of the wider impacts of the project and will report its findings in the summer of 2016.

For more information contact Mike

you can find out more about this project here