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Climate change is disrupting the fundamental conditions of human life and exacerbating existing inequity by placing further burdens on communities that are already vulnerable. Risk exposure varies by where people live and work. In this article, we examine the spatial overlap of the compound risks of COVID-19 and extreme heat in New York City. We assess the relationship between socio-demographic and natural, built and social environmental characteristics, and the spatial correspondence of COVID-19 daily case rates across three pandemic waves. We use these data to create a compound risk index combining heat, COVID-19, density and social vulnerability. Our findings demonstrate that the compound risk of COVID-19 and heat are public health and equity challenges. Heat and COVID-19 exposure are influenced by natural, built, and social environmental factors, including access to mitigation infrastructure. Socio-demographic characteristics are significant indicators of COVID-19 and heat exposure and of where compound vulnerability exists. Using GIS mapping, we illustrate how COVID-19 risk geographies change across the three waves of the pandemic and the particular impact of vaccinations before the onset of the third wave. We, then, use our compound risk index to assess heat interventions undertaken by the City, identify neighborhoods of both adequate and inadequate coverage and provide recommendations for future interventions.


Knox-Hayes, J., Osorio, J. C., Stamler, N., Dombrov, M., Winer, R., Smith, M. H., ... & Rosenzweig, C. (2023). The compound risk of heat and COVID-19 in New York City: riskscapes, physical and social factors, and interventions. Local Environment, 1-29, © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://,

This work was supported by Jaqueline Ting and Sophia Hull at the Pratt Institute Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE), MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning Summer Fellowships, Columbia University Award [grant number 80NSSC20M0282], Peter J. Eloranta Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Goddard Institute for Space Studies through the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI), Matthew Pearce at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA), Jeffrey L. Pressman Award from MIT’s Department of Political Science, NASA Climate Impacts Core Project [grant number WBS 509496.].



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