Heat Vulnerability Index

A Heat Vulnerability Index, developed by NASA and Groundwork USA, is a watershed indicator in the report card. This index includes four metrics: tree canopy, impervious surface, land surface temperature, and households in poverty. The index identifies places where there is greater vulnerability of people to heat-related and flooding-related risks, which are often in neighborhoods with race-based housing discrimination. Other groups at risk are communities of color, low-income communities, children, and the elderly. This index can help managers prioritize locations for restoration projects such as tree plantings and conversion of abandoned impervious surfaces to green space.

A street lacking trees in Washington D.C. near the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Photo Paula Abrahao (Flickr).

How is it measured?

The Heat Vulnerability Index is an indicator of climate-safe neighborhoods that includes metrics for tree canopy, impervious surface, land surface temperature, and households in poverty. Data is at the Census Block level. Data are from 2018.