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An Equity-Focused Approach to Urban Heat Resilience

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Session Description: 

Urban heat is deadlier than nearly all other U.S. weather-related hazards combined, with risks increasing due to climate change and the urban heat island effect. During this summer’s record-breaking temperatures, urban heat is at the forefront of the national conversation on climate risk, intersecting with and compounding the COVID-19 pandemic, social inequity, and racial injustice. Fundamental research continues to advance understanding of the characteristics of resilient cities and their governance, but translating this knowledge about urban resilience into practice remains a challenge.

About the Speaker
Kizzy Charles-Guzman is a Deputy Director at the New York City (NYC) Mayor’s Office of Sustainability where she leads the social and environmental policy team. For over a decade, she has engaged in citywide sustainability and resiliency planning efforts to ensure that social, public health and environmental justice priorities are integrated into climate action agendas and environmental policies. She led the development of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the City’s first comprehensive strategy to address the impacts of rising temperatures and heat waves, and other equity-focused initiatives that ensure that NYC residents are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change. Kizzy also served as the Deputy Director for Social Resiliency at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, and as Director of the Climate Change and Public Health Program at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, developing and implementing effective initiatives that support and promote NYC's environmental health. She received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award, and a Champion of Change Award from the U.S. White House in recognition of her work. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She also teaches at New York University.

Workshop Topic (s): 
  • Climate Variability and Change (including Climate Modeling)
  • Human Contributions & Responses