PSU researchers map street temperatures

Multnomah County

They are showing how neighorhoods, developments and certain materials respond to heat

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland State University researchers are measuring the impact of climate change on neighborhoods.

Urban and Planning Studies professor Vivek Shandas and his research team spent a day driving around different areas of Portland to map the city’s surface temperatures in real-time.

They used a car equipped with specialized sensors to read temperature and humidity down to the street level.

The idea is to get a better understanding of how neighorhoods, developments and certain materials respond to heat. Shandas stopped at the US Postal Service property in the Pearl District that’s slated for all-new buildings, to explain the impact new construction can have.

“One thing we’re trying to do is understand how buildings like this –new buildings, new development in cities –will affect the temperatures you experience immediately surrounding those buildings,” Shandas said. “Because it turns out when we measure these temperatures, what’s on the landscape really affects what we feel.”

The group has mapped temperatures over the past several years and said in some neighborhoods, the differences can be quite extreme.

Shandas hopes city planners will use the research to make design decisions that help keep people safe during heatwaves as average temperatures continue to rise.

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