University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

Heat Vulnerability Playbook: Preparing Tampa’s At-Risk Communities for Extreme Heat

Congratulations to Associate Professor of Research Taryn Sabia on the receipt of a new grant from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Funding for the “Bridging Knowledge to Action - Using Data to Develop Equitable Outcomes or Solutions to Climate Hazards and Other Disasters” has been awarded to develop new programming around health and community resilience that prioritizes the needs and challenges of communities that are disproportionately at risk from climate hazards or other disasters to achieve more equitable outcomes.

The City of Tampa is fortunate to have a highly productive urban tree canopy which helps mitigate direct sun exposure and reduces cooling costs. Urban tree cover provides significant benefits to human health and can reduce the impacts of climate hazards.

Evaluation of tree canopy data and social vulnerability indicators will inform decision-making, engagement, and recommendations through an equity lens.

The project will seek more equitable outcomes associated with mitigating climate hazards in the context of extreme heat by analyzing the accessibility and quality of parks and outdoor spaces, potential cooling centers, and other resources to generate equity-informed strategies within the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the Urban Forest Management Plan.

The product, a Heat Resiliency Playbook, will be a working document, designed to reflect real-time data collection, feedback, and the evolving needs of the community. While focusing on East Tampa, the Playbook will be designed for flexibility, to produce unique outcomes that reflect the complexity of each community’s needs.

The project will be led by Taryn Sabia of USF’s College of The Arts’ Florida Center for Community Design & Research in partnership with Resilient Cities Catalyst and the City of Tampa.

The Florida Center for Community Design & Research at the USF College of The Arts was founded by the Florida Legislature in 1986 to assist the citizens of Florida to create more livable and sustainable communities. Team members have worked in collaboration with the City of Tampa for more than 30 years providing technical assistance, applied research, and community design programs across several community-based projects and studies including community development, health assessments, and affordable housing initiatives.