Jul 24, 2023 - Climate

Atlanta's hottest neighborhoods

Illustration of a 3D health cross shape dripping and melting from heat.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Residents in some of Atlanta's historic Black neighborhoods are more at risk of heat exposure as the climate continues to warm up.

Driving the news: The city last week released a study assessing the risk of heat and flood risk in Atlanta's 249 neighborhoods. The study by Urban Adapt, a climate consulting firm started by two Georgia Tech professors, includes recommendations to help cool down communities.

Details: Topping the list are west and southwest Atlanta neighborhoods near Downtown like English Avenue, Vine City and Pittsburgh where older housing stock doesn't have central cooling or streets have minimal tree canopy.

Why it matters: While residents in Tybee Island think about rising sea levels, those in Atlanta are focused on temperatures growing ever hotter and sudden storms flooding infrastructure and neighborhoods.

By the numbers: More than 15,000 Atlantans could require medical attention from a summer blackout event, the report said, straining first responders and area hospitals.

State of play: The authors recommend planting 350,000 trees and passing policies to protect the canopy. They also advise pushing for "cool roofing" for all low-rise buildings, increasing the number of cooling centers, and creating a "heat surveillance system" of weather stations in neighborhoods.

What’s next: Council members Matt Westmoreland and Liliana Bakhtiari, who commissioned the study, told the AJC the report would help craft the next update to the city’s tree ordinance.

Head to the AJC for an interactive map showing your community's ranking


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