Heat affects the socially disadvantaged the most

We repeatedly emphasize that the issue of climate change also has a major social component. Researchers at the University of Vienna have now discovered that urban overheating affects lower income groups more severely.


The magnificently greened shopping streets in the neighborhoods with horrendous prices per square meter do not help the concrete deserts in the lower-income parts of a city.

This discrepancy must be made an issue, especially as more people in Austria already die from heat than from road traffic.

Inert measures such as less private transport or concrete are not the solution, says environmental geoscientist and co-head of the research network, Thilo Hofmann.

As in all sub-areas of this major topic, swift action is absolutely essential.


What to do?

Redirecting cooling air currents and increasing well-being must be the top priority. This includes relatively simple measures such as creating water features, rest areas and greenery that can be reached in about 5 minutes.

All measures must be interlinked in order to bring coolness to lower-income areas. Wealthy city dwellers usually live in the greener areas anyway.

According to a study involving the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (Boku), the fact that this is an issue throughout Europe has now also been scientifically documented.


Connection between visiting local recreation areas and individual well-being

Measures that support socially vulnerable people in accessing recreational areas therefore offer a simple way of improving the health of the urban population.

In Vienna, for example, the Danube Island, which is connected to the subway network, is a shining positive example.

The connection between well-being, heat, health and income is evident and must be integrated into our thinking and into political and urban planning decisions. We have it in our hands!