Urban Heat: Community led resilience to urban heatwaves

2017 report for JRF by Kevin Burchell, Ben Fagan-Watson and Tom Watson, Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster

Due to climate change, UK heatwaves are expected to become more frequent. Owing to its location and size, London is particularly vulnerable. The notion of ‘community resilience’ – an ongoing process of communities working with local resources and expertise to help themselves and others to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies – has recently been adopted in national and local heatwave plans. However, the roles of community and voluntary groups, and residents, in developing and implementing community resilience are not well articulated in these plans.

Within this context, the aim of URBAN HEAT was to support and inform transformative strategic development in the context of UK resilience to heatwaves in urban areas. 

Key impacts

Within the project period, the main impacts of the project were: raising awareness and informing agendas across sectors and levels; brokering new relationships between policy and practice stakeholders; supporting the development of communications materials and systems at local and national levels; and changes in local governance structures. The project was also described as an example of best practice in community engagement by Public Health England (London) and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. Significantly, the project drew attention to some of the more social aspects of heatwave response in a domain that often focuses on technical issues of health, buildings and mapping.






Full Report