Dallas Urban Heat Island
Many people understand from their own experience that cities are often hotter than rural areas. Research suggests a difference of 6 to 8ºF. As cities develop, trees and vegetated areas are reduced, natural surfaces are paved, and buildings constructed. Together these changes produce the “urban heat island effect."
Dallas has recognized heat island concerns in plans and discussions, and there are several references in the 2006 Dallas Comprehensive Plan, forwardDallas! The plan’s Vision mentions the heat island effect as a component of policies to help ensure environmental stewardship.
Heat island policies are also found in other sections of the plan.
“Central to this Key Initiative is identifying, inventorying and protecting important natural resources, sensitive ecosystems, open spaces and cherished views. Included are policies to mitigate the urban heat island effect, improve storm water management within the city, reduce smog, expand the absorption capacity of floodplains and allow the restoration and rehabilitation of Trinity River riparian corridors.” (emphasis added)
The Dallas Urban Heat Island Study examines how and where heat island effects occur in Dallas and some of the basic tools for reducing impacts, such as expanded tree planting and conservation, use of cool roofing, and application of cool and porous paving. The study describes costs and benefits associated with these tools.