Effects of Climate Change on the Future of Local Communities in Indianapolis
This tool leverages publicly available climate and health data in an interactive web portal that displays and communicates potential health and environmental effects of climate change—including flooding, extreme heat, and air pollution—in Near West, a low-income, disadvantaged Indianapolis neighborhood. The tool can potentially be replicated for use in other geographic areas.
The tool includes visualizations for the neighborhood and the greater Indianapolis area to identify:
- Locations at increased risk of flooding and associated vulnerabilities with respect to housing structures (mold), other critical infrastructure (including hospitals, emergency responders, schools, etc.), and contaminated sites and repositories for hazardous waste;
- Areas with an increased level of ozone formation from mobile and non-mobile sources of VOCs as they relate to increases in overall ambient temperature and localized urban heat island effects;
- Hotspots where residents are more vulnerable to acute cardiovascular events (e.g., 911 emergency calls for stroke and cardiac arrest) and hospitalization (heart attack) as a result of urban heat island effects.
These visualizations may aid decision makers in identifying targeted areas and at-risk populations for disaster prevention, preparation, and response as a result of climate change and inform cost-effective ways to mitigate potential impacts of climate change, and can be made available to residents in disadvantaged communities to raise understanding of the impacts of climate change on environmental exposure and empower them for environmental justice issues.
The tool consolidates climate and health data that are publicly available and can potentially be replicated for other geographical units, such as neighborhoods, census units, counties, states, or regions.
The tool received first prize in the category of “Local and Regional Community” in the 2015 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Data Visualization Challenge. It was created by Dr. Yi Wang's research team at the Department of Environmental Health, Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.