As the infamous Heat Dome peaked over Portland on June 28, Vivek Shandas, a professor at Portland State University, drove around the city using a thermal camera to measure the temperature in neighborhoods from the Pearl District to Gresham. He found that the hottest spot was at the intersection of Southeast Woodstock Boulevard and 92nd Avenue, which registered 180 degrees. For years Shandas has studied climate change and how to address its implications, and he has been warning that certain neighborhoods, particularly low income neighbors of color, are more prone to be heat islands because they lack trees and have lots of concrete. When the “heat dome” descended on Portland the temperatures in these urban heat islands turned lethal.
On this episdoe we talk with Vivek about the urgency of addressing the critical dangers of heat islands and what we need to do to protect vulnerable residents from this increasing threat as climate chaos descends upon us.
Portland State University Professor and Founder and Director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research, Vivek Shandas develops strategies for addressing the implications of climate change on cities. His teaching and research examine the intersection of exposure to climate-induced events, governance processes, and planning mechanisms. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Shandas studies the emergent characteristics that generate vulnerability among communities and infrastructure.