The City of Montreal serves as the research location. City centres are highly vulnerable to increasing extreme heat events (IPCC, 2007; Reid et al., 2009). As one of the major metropolitan areas in Canada, the City of Montreal has established a heat response plan to reduce illness during extreme heat events (Price et al., 2013). The current plan focuses on active prevention of heat illnesses through issuing heat advisory warnings, and mobilization of public health partners (Price et al., 2013). However, the current plan does not address passive heat mitigation measures such as tree-planting.
Passive measures could significantly improve heat mitigation in Montreal. Wang and Akbari (2016) studied urban heat islands and the heat-mitigating effects of street trees in Montreal and found that increasing tree crown diameter significantly decreased air temperature. Additionally, Pham et al. (2017) studied the Old City of Montreal and found there was a positive correlation between street tree-cover and neighbourhood affluence. The need for the inclusion of passive cooling methods in Montreal’s heat mitigating plan, particularly regarding increased tree cover, makes it an appropriate site for conducting this analysis.
Figure 1 shows the census tract divisions that constitute the City of Montreal. This project's heat vulnerability analysis is conducted at the census tract level, as this is the most detailed level at which the required data is available. Montreal is a suitable site in which to develop and evaluate a combined socioeconomic and biophysical heat-vulnerability model, as it is the second most populous city in Canada, has diverse community structure that is spatially heterogeneous across the island, and it has an extensive open data catalogue which contains much of the required data to conduct the analysis (Statistics Canada, 2017).
Figure 1. Map of the Island of Montreal with the 2006 census tract delineations.