The de Blasio administration has identified neighborhoods most vulnerable to extreme heat, which is becoming a bigger problem in New York City every year as the climate changes. A study by the commission behind de Blasio’s OneNYC sustainability plan has recognized Upper Manhattan, especially central Harlem, a large swath of the South Bronx, and Brooklyn from Bushwick to East Flatbush as areas where residents are especially at risk for heat-related illnesses and death when temperatures rise. According to the CDC, an average of 13 New Yorkers died and 447 were treated for heat-related illnesses annually between 2000-2011.
According to the OneNYC plan, “The risk of death from extreme heat is highest among those without air conditioning, in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates, and where there is less land covered by trees and other vegetation.” The plan proposes planting more trees, closely monitoring air temperatures in vulnerable neighborhoods, and calling upon the state to expand subsidization of air conditioning installation and bills for low-income seniors and people with health conditions. The CDC found that no one who died due to extreme heat owned a working air conditioner.
This problem is not going to fix itself: According the New York Environment Report, average recorded summer temperatures in Central Park have risen 3.4 degrees since 1900, and more extremely hot days and heat waves are expected.
(Image: 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks)