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How ‘chief heat officer’ keep cities cool as the world Warms
Chief Heat Officers, also known as Heat Resilience Officers or Urban Heat Officers, are professionals who work towards keeping cities cool and resilient in the face of rising temperatures due to climate change. While specific individuals holding this title may vary across cities and organizations, their role generally involves implementing strategies to mitigate urban heat and protect the population from extreme heat events.
Here are some ways in which Chief Heat Officer and similar professionals work to keep cities cool:
Heat Mitigation Strategies:
Chief Heat Officers develop and implement strategies to mitigate the urban heat island effect, which is the phenomenon of cities being significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas. They focus on urban planning and design interventions, such as increasing green spaces, promoting urban tree canopy cover, incorporating cool roofs and pavements, and creating shade structures to reduce heat absorption and provide cooling.
Heat Risk Assessment:
These officers conduct heat risk assessments to identify areas within the city that are most vulnerable to extreme heat. By analyzing data and mapping urban heat patterns, they can prioritize interventions and allocate resources to areas with the highest risks, such as neighborhoods with limited green spaces or high population density.
Chief Heat Officers work closely with communities to raise awareness about heat-related risks and provide guidance on heat resilience strategies. They collaborate with local organizations, community groups, and stakeholders to develop heat emergency response plans, establish cooling centers, and ensure that vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and low-income communities, have access to cooling resources during heat waves.
Data Monitoring and Analysis:
These officers monitor and analyze data related to urban heat and its impacts. They utilize remote sensing technologies, weather data, and temperature sensors placed throughout the city to gather information on heat patterns, identify hotspots, and evaluate the effectiveness of heat mitigation efforts.
Collaboration and Policy Advocacy:
Chief Heat Officers collaborate with various government agencies, urban planners, public health officials, and climate researchers to develop comprehensive heat resilience plans and policies. They advocate for the integration of heat mitigation strategies into urban planning, building codes, and infrastructure development projects.
Research and Innovation:
These officers stay updated on the latest research and technological advancements in heat resilience and work towards implementing innovative solutions. They collaborate with academic institutions and research organizations to explore new cooling technologies, smart city approaches, and climate adaptation strategies.
It’s important to note that while some cities have designated Chief Heat Officers, in other cases, the responsibilities related to heat resilience and urban cooling may be divided among different departments or professionals within local government agencies or organizations.
Chief Heat Officer is not a widely recognized or standardized job title.
Job Description of chief heat officer:
- Develop and implement strategies to mitigate the urban heat island effect and address heat-related challenges in the city.
- Conduct heat risk assessments and identify vulnerable areas and populations prone to heat-related risks.
- Collaborate with government agencies, urban planners, and stakeholders to integrate heat resilience measures into urban planning and policy frameworks.
- Monitor and analyze data on urban heat patterns, temperature trends, and the effectiveness of heat mitigation efforts.
- Raise awareness about heat-related risks and educate the public on heat resilience strategies.
- Work with community groups and organizations to establish cooling centers and ensure access to cooling resources during heat waves.
- Collaborate with research institutions to explore innovative technologies and approaches for urban cooling and heat resilience.
- Advocate for the integration of heat resilience measures into building codes, infrastructure development, and climate adaptation plans.
- Policy Development: Work closely with government agencies, urban planning departments, and environmental organizations to develop policies and guidelines that promote heat resilience in urban areas. Advocate for incorporating heat mitigation and adaptation strategies into urban planning and development processes.
- Heat Risk Assessment: Conduct heat risk assessments to identify areas of high vulnerability to extreme heat, considering factors such as population density, infrastructure, and climate patterns. Use data analysis and modeling techniques to determine heat exposure and vulnerability levels.
- Urban Planning Integration: Collaborate with urban planners and architects to integrate heat resilience measures into urban design and development projects. Provide guidance on incorporating green infrastructure, cool materials, and shade structures to mitigate urban heat effects.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Engage with community groups, NGOs, and local residents to raise awareness about the impacts of extreme heat and encourage community participation in heat resilience initiatives. Foster partnerships with relevant stakeholders to implement heat mitigation strategies.
- Emergency Preparedness: Develop heat emergency response plans, including protocols for early warning systems, cooling centers, and public information campaigns. Collaborate with emergency management agencies to ensure effective response and assistance during heat waves.
- Data Monitoring and Analysis: Establish monitoring systems to collect and analyze data on urban heat patterns, temperature trends, and the effectiveness of heat resilience interventions. Use data to inform decision-making and continuously improve heat resilience strategies.
- Research and Innovation: Stay updated on the latest research, technologies, and best practices in the field of heat resilience. Collaborate with research institutions and experts to identify innovative approaches for urban cooling, green infrastructure, and sustainable heat management.
- Capacity Building and Training: Provide training and capacity-building programs to relevant stakeholders, including urban planners, engineers, and community members, to enhance their understanding of heat resilience and their ability to implement appropriate measures.
- Collaboration and Networking: Collaborate with national and international organizations, participate in relevant conferences and workshops, and establish networks to exchange knowledge and experiences related to heat resilience and urban cooling.
- Stay updated on the latest research, best practices, and advancements in the field of heat resilience and urban cooling.
- Develop Heat Resilience Strategies: Design and develop comprehensive heat resilience strategies to mitigate the impacts of urban heat islands and extreme heat events. This includes conducting research, analyzing data, and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to identify and implement effective measures
Chief heat officer Bangladesh.
Bangladesh faces significant challenges related to heatwaves, urban heat islands, and climate change impacts. The government and relevant agencies are actively working on implementing measures to address these issues, including urban planning interventions, increasing green spaces, and improving heat resilience in vulnerable communities.
While there may not be a specific Chief Heat Officer position, professionals involved in urban planning, disaster management, climate change adaptation, or environmental sustainability may play a role in addressing heat-related challenges in Bangladesh. These professionals work towards integrating heat resilience measures into urban development plans, infrastructure projects, and disaster preparedness strategies.
It’s important to note that the information provided is based on the knowledge available up to September 2021, and there may have been developments or changes since then. For the most up-to-date and accurate information on specific positions or initiatives related to heat resilience in Bangladesh, it is recommended to consult government agencies, urban planning departments, or relevant research and development organizations within the country.
Chief heat officer Dhaka
In Dhaka, the responsibility for addressing heat-related challenges and implementing heat resilience measures generally falls under the purview of government departments, urban planning agencies, and environmental sustainability initiatives. These entities work towards integrating heat mitigation and adaptation strategies into urban development plans, infrastructure projects, and disaster management efforts.
Heat officer Bushra Afrin (Facebook Profile)
Bushra Afrin, a Global Development Studies graduate from Canada, has been appointed as the first Chief Heat Officer in Dhaka North City, making it the first city in Asia to establish such a position.
With prior experience as an executive at the non-governmental development organization Shakti Foundation in Bangladesh, Bushra brings a wealth of expertise to her new role. The Dhaka North City Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) based in the United States. This partnership aims to collaborate on initiatives aimed at reducing the temperature in Dhaka. As part of this agreement, the city plans to plant 200,000 trees within a span of two years.
The Arsht-Rock Foundation employs Chief Heat Officers as part of their efforts to address the risks associated with climate change in cities worldwide. Bushra Afrin’s appointment marks the first time an Asian city has appointed a Chief Heat Officer. Other cities with Chief Heat Officers include Miami, Los Angeles, Santiago (Chile), Santiago (Sierra Leone), Athens (Greece), and Melbourne (Australia).
Before assuming the role of Chief Heat Officer, Bushra Afrin appeared in a short film called ‘700 Taka’ alongside singer-actor Pritam Hasan and Sabila Noor, which was directed by Humayun. Her performance can be seen from the 9 minutes and 48 seconds mark in the film. Moreover, Bushra has produced the short film ‘Moshari,’ directed by Nuhash Humayun, showcasing her involvement in Bangladesh’s showbiz industry. Unfortunately, due to being infected with COVID-19, Bushra Afrin’s statement was not available as she is currently in isolation.
Chief heat officer salary:
The salary of a Chief Heat Officer, or any similar position, can vary based on factors such as the location, organization, job responsibilities, experience, and qualifications of the individual. Salaries are typically determined by local market conditions, industry standards, and the budget of the employing organization.
Since the role of Chief Heat Officer is not a standardized or widely recognized position, specific salary information for this title may be challenging to find. However, similar positions in the field of urban planning, environmental sustainability, or climate change adaptation may provide a reference point for potential salary ranges.
It is recommended to consult relevant sources such as government agencies, job portals, industry reports, or professional networks within your specific country or region to gather more accurate and up-to-date salary information for positions related to heat resilience or urban planning in your area of interest. These sources can provide insights into the average salary ranges and compensation packages offered for similar roles in your location.
Chief Heat Officers: Tackling Urban Heat in a Warming World
As world leaders gather at the COP27 U.N. climate summit in Egypt to address global warming, a new group of officials known as Chief Heat Officers are taking action on the ground to combat the effects of extreme heat in cities worldwide. This emerging role, created just last year, aims to address the growing challenges posed by hotter and more dangerous summers, which threaten the health and livelihoods of billions of urban residents.
The initiative to establish Chief Heat Officers was spearheaded by the U.S.-based Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) at the Atlantic Council think tank. It began with the appointment of the world’s first Chief Heat Officer in Miami-Dade County, Florida, in April 2021.
Since then, the number of Chief Heat Officers has grown to eight, all of whom are women. These officers are primarily focused on protecting vulnerable communities, including women, the elderly, and low-income populations, from the impacts of rising temperatures.
Eugenia Kargbo, Africa’s first Chief Heat Officer, appointed in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as part of the Arsht-Rock project, highlights the importance of their work. She emphasizes that the effects of extreme heat are not confined to a single city and do not solely affect women. However, their focus is on supporting the most vulnerable, who in their case happen to be women.
The urgency to address extreme heat is underscored by the increasing number of heat-related deaths. In 2022 alone, more than 15,000 people in Europe lost their lives due to hot weather, according to data from the World Health Organization. By 2050, heat waves are projected to impact over 3.5 billion people globally, with half of them residing in urban areas.
The rising temperatures are attributed to climate change, exacerbating the urban “heat island effect” where cities are several degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas. Concrete and metal prevalent in cities absorb and radiate heat, creating additional challenges for urban residents.
In Freetown, where over 1 million people reside, extreme heat poses significant risks. Market traders, many of whom are women, face heightened vulnerability due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Spoilage of their perishable goods, such as fruits and vegetables, adds economic risks to their livelihoods. To address this, Chief Heat Officer Eugenia Kargbo is collaborating with market traders to install heat-reflective panels, providing much-needed shade and benefitting approximately 2,000 women.
Similarly, Surella Segu, Chief Heat Officer of Monterrey, Mexico, is raising awareness about the dangers of extreme heat in the city of 5 million residents. She highlights the heat island effect, particularly in low-income neighborhoods lacking green spaces and air conditioning. Segu aims to create city parks, and green corridors, and improve water management systems to mitigate the impact of extreme heat and prevent water shortages.
While the efforts of Chief Heat Officers are commendable, transforming cities to become resilient to extreme heat requires a culture shift. Changing behaviors such as water conservation and reducing air pollution are crucial components of long-term adaptation.
The recognition and response to heat waves, which are often overlooked compared to other catastrophic events, are also receiving attention. Initiatives like the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance are working towards standard practices for naming and ranking heat waves. This helps citizens and authorities take appropriate measures to protect vulnerable groups and mitigate health risks.
Chief Heat Officers are at the forefront of addressing urban heat challenges, working diligently to safeguard the well-being of urban residents in the face of a warming world. Their efforts contribute to building more resilient and sustainable cities, ensuring the health and prosperity of current and future generations.
Chief Heat Officers Taking Action to Prevent Heat Deaths
One of the most overlooked consequences of the climate crisis is extreme heat, which is responsible for claiming over 5 million lives annually, according to research. The United States witnessed a concerning 56% increase in deaths caused by severe heat strokes and related complications between 2018 and 2021, and this trend is likely to worsen globally as temperatures continue to rise. While addressing climate change and reducing temperatures is a complex task, preventing heat-related deaths is a feasible goal. Recognizing the urgency, a group of Chief Heat Officers (CHOs) has emerged as a collective force dedicated to tackling this issue.
Supported by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and various public and private grants, these CHOs are taking proactive measures in seven cities worldwide, with Miami being the first city to appoint a CHO in June 2021. Notably, all CHOs are women, a deliberate strategy to ensure better representation as women are disproportionately affected by climate change.
Mitigating the Silent Killer:
Cities are becoming inhospitable environments due to the absorption and trapping of heat by buildings and roads. This situation is particularly severe in lower-income and minority neighborhoods, where individuals often lack access to shade, suffer from pre-existing health conditions, and have little choice but to work through oppressive heat.
The key focus of the CHOs is to adapt these communities and raise awareness about the dangers of extreme heat. Their initiatives include installing cool pavements and roofs, developing cool route mapping systems, and planting trees for shade, which can reduce temperatures by up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The CHOs also prioritize knowledge-sharing, and they recently convened in Washington, D.C., to exchange the best practices in heat resilience.
Addressing the Challenges:
Krista Milne, the recently appointed CHO for Melbourne, Australia, along with her colleague Tiffany Crawford, highlights the insidious nature of heat-related fatalities. In Australia, heat has caused more deaths than all other natural hazards combined, often going unnoticed due to the lack of visually striking cues like floods or hurricanes. As a “silent killer,” heat poses a significant challenge.
Surella Segú, the CHO of Monterrey, Mexico, notes the urgent need for collaboration among the CHOs. While each city faces unique circumstances, they share common processes and barriers when implementing heat mitigation tactics, such as navigating political landscapes, addressing community concerns, and securing financial resources. Segú emphasizes that diverse backgrounds among the CHOs provide valuable perspectives on the issue, complementing each other’s efforts.
Empowering Women in Leadership:
Kathy Baughman McLeod, Director of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, oversees the CHO program. She intentionally recruited women, particularly mothers, as CHOs due to their inherent understanding of the challenges faced by women in the wake of climate impacts. McLeod emphasizes that women leaders have demonstrated better outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing women with resources and training benefits everyone. Thus, empowering women to lead on this agenda is both logical and necessary.
Addressing Local Realities:
Eugenia Kargbo, the CHO of Freetown, Sierra Leone, grapples with the human toll and economic implications of extreme heat. Freetown, a labor-intensive African city, has experienced an influx of rural migrants seeking economic opportunities. This has resulted in deforestation and intensified heat. Kargbo’s approach focuses on low-hanging fruit solutions, such as planting more trees for shade and covering market stalls where traders, predominantly women, sell their goods. Jane Gilbert, the first appointed CHO in Miami, Florida, has prioritized raising awareness among the public, especially in the most affected communities. By conducting vulnerability assessments and involving community input, Gilbert ensures that messaging about heat risks reaches diverse populations through multilingual public service announcements.
Creating Climate-Adaptive Cities:
Marta Segura, the CHO of Los Angeles (L.A.), exemplifies how vulnerable communities can be found even in the wealthiest nations. L.A.’s initiatives include naming, ranking, and categorizing heat waves, similar to hurricanes, to highlight their health impacts. Segura emphasizes that while changing the temperature is beyond their control, they can create more climate-adaptive cities and empower people to be proactive during heatstorms. Segura appreciates the alliance of all-women CHOs, as it brings a distinct work style and facilitates effective collaboration.
Urgency and Global Action:
Cristina Huidobro, the CHO of Santiago, Chile, acknowledges the alignment between her ideals and the region’s governor, Claudio Orrego, who has approved a $2 million urban reforestation program. Huidobro reflects on the timeliness of the CHO program’s formation, stressing that action on climate change should have been taken much earlier. Eleni Myrivili, the CHO of Athens, Greece, notes the solidarity provided by the alliance of CHOs, especially as the work can often feel isolating.
Myrivili draws attention to the fact that women tend to spearhead climate adaptation and resilience initiatives, with women of color playing a vital role in addressing urgent climate concerns. In November, Myrivili will assume the position of Global CHO for UN-Habitat, integrating heat adaptation and resilience into global policies and initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable urban settlements and providing adequate shelter worldwide.
The appointment of Chief Heat Officers is a crucial step in preventing heat-related deaths and adapting communities to rising temperatures. These women leaders are taking proactive measures to create climate-adaptive cities, raise awareness, and implement resilience strategies. Their diverse backgrounds, expertise, and collaboration ensure a holistic approach to addressing the urgent climate crisis. By empowering women in leadership positions and leveraging their insights, it becomes possible to drive meaningful change and protect vulnerable communities from the silent killer of extreme heat.
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