Research Findings: Objective 1
Identify Factors Related to Heat Vulnerability and Tree Canopy Heat Mitigation
The first objective is to identify factors related to heat vulnerability and heat mitigation capacity. This is achieved through extensive review of relevant scholarly articles as well as reports produced by the City of Montreal. Nine heat vulnerability factors are identified: age, income, education, ethnicity, social isolation, proximity to cooling structure, canopy cover, and age and height of housing structure. For more information on the variables included in this analysis please refer to Research Approach Objective 1.
Additional factors could improve the accuracy and relevance of this model output. In particular, heat-related hospitalization data and census tract of residence for hospitalized individuals would improve model accuracy (Chuang, 2015). Health records, however, were unavailable for this research. It would also improve the analysis to have data on the number of households using air conditioning units (O'Neil et al., 2005; Reid et al., 2009). This data is unavailable for the City of Montreal. Income and housing structure factors significantly influence heat vulnerability, and additionally act as proxy indicators of air conditioning access (Ho et al., 2015). Older homes are less likely to have air-conditioning, and higher buildings increase the vulnerability to heat (Chan et al., 2007; Xu et al., 2013); as well, low-income households are less likely to be able to afford the use of air-conditioning (O’Neill et al., 2005). These factors provide information that relates to air-conditioning, although the model could be improved with more specific information on the use of air-conditioning in each census tract. Future analyses would benefit from including hospitalization data and air-conditioning prevalence if it is available to researchers.