Turner on How to Protect Children From Extreme Heat

V. Kelly Turner, associate director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times calling for action to protect California’s schoolchildren from extreme heat. “Schools are some of the hottest places in our region,” Turner wrote. “Single-story buildings surrounded by open, asphalt-dominated play yards with few trees provide little opportunity for cooling shade.” She identified a number of equity-minded funding opportunities, legislative actions and policy recommendations to help schools adapt to rising temperatures. Turner’s research into urban planning and design approaches that can make communities more resilient to climate change has made her a sought-after commentator this summer. CNN and KCRW spoke with Turner about adaptation strategies including planting shade trees and covering streets with cooling paint. And Ethnic Media Services covered a news briefing on coping strategies featuring Marta Segura, chief heat officer in the city of Los Angeles, Turner and other leaders.


Sweltering Temperatures Take Toll on the Most Vulnerable

V. Kelly Turner, associate director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, spoke to NBC4 News about the impact of Southern California’s heat wave on groups that are particularly vulnerable due to age, disability, low income and access to transportation. “I think about the sensitive populations who lack the resources or capacity to adapt when it gets really hot,” said Turner, who leads a research group focusing on policy approaches to protect people from extreme heat. “But I also think about people who are spending a lot of their time in settings where they’re exposed to too much heat. So that could be something like taking public transportation and being at a bus stop with no shelter.” In sweltering temperatures, she said, “we know that women are more likely to have preterm births. We know that children’s learning outcomes are degraded. We know that elderly are more likely to fall down.”


Turner Says Regulations Hinder Heat Mitigation Efforts Like ‘La Sombrita’


A Call for Heat Preparedness at California Schools

A California Healthline article on how to help schools become more heat-resilient in the face of global warming cited recommendations laid out in a policy brief from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, including setting an indoor temperature limit and investing in shade and greenery for play areas. Two of the policy brief’s co-authors, Associate Professor of Urban Planning V. Kelly Turner and graduate student Lauren Dunlap, are currently modeling how increasing the tree canopy to 30% can affect heat stress and researching the different benefits of dispersed or clustered tree configurations. “Obviously, the California Education Board wasn’t set up to think about climate change. But now that climate change is a reality, virtually every sector is going to have to think about it,” Turner said. The article, which appeared in the Sacramento Bee, LAist and other outlets, noted that legislative action includes a bill by State Sen. Caroline Menjivar MSW ’18 that would require schools to have heat plans by 2027.


Turner’s Research Helps Oasis Residents Battle the Heat

V. Kelly Turner, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, spoke to the Desert Sun about her research on shade scarcity in Oasis, California. Because Oasis does not have tall buildings or trees, it has larger shade deserts than other communities. The study looked into how heat changes were affecting residents of Oasis and possible solutions to alleviate this struggle. For example, temporary shade structures were created at bus stops to provide people with places to sit that are protected from the heat. Building this kind of shelter could also encourage ridership on buses. Turner said amenities such as the shaded bus shelters help address the heat burden for people who are unable to reside in air-conditioned settings. “Every city needs to be planning for shade and probably planning for more of it, given what we’re anticipating with climate change,” she said.


At the Intersection of Extreme Heat, Urban Planning and Public Policy

News outlets covering the effects of extreme heat on California communities have put a spotlight on UCLA Luskin’s wide-ranging research on climate change. CapRadio and the Sacramento Bee spoke with V. Kelly Turner, who studies the intersection of extreme heat and urban planning and has witnessed the inequitable impact of dangerously high temperatures on low-income communities. The Los Angeles Times spoke to Juan Matute, deputy director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, about the lack of shade provided at thousands of bus stops across Los Angeles County. He urged officials to follow the lead of desert cities that use trees, street furniture and shade canopies to protect transit riders from the harsh climate. And the Southern California Association of Governments shared a live demonstration of the California Healthy Places Index: Extreme Heat Edition, developed through a partnership including the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation to teach communities about heat vulnerability and resources available to them.


‘Heat Is One of the Greatest Climate Injustices Facing California’

News outlets covering the wilting heat wave now afflicting California called on experts from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, a leading source of research on climate adaptation and resilience. A Los Angeles Times story and editorial about the state’s halting efforts to improve its response to deadly heat waves cited the Center for Innovation’s Colleen Callahan and V. Kelly Turner, along with the center’s report urging a more coordinated approach to California’s climate policies. Turner also spoke with Curbed about soaring temperatures on the nation’s school playgrounds. “Elementary schools tend to be some of the hottest areas in all of the neighborhood,” akin to a parking lot or highway, said Turner, who researches how people experience heat in urban settings. In one study, she clocked a playground slide at 122 degrees on a 93-degree afternoon. Turner also shared her expertise on KPCC’s “Air Talk” and KQED’s “Forum.”


Turner Talks About Extreme Heat in University of California Video

UCLA Luskin’s V. Kelly Turner is prominently featured in a content package and video story about the impacts of extreme heat recently posted to the homepage of the systemwide University of California website. She describes research being done by herself and others that has helped pinpoint sources of dangerous heat in urban areas. She also talks about research efforts to devise ways to lessen the danger as climate change increases the frequency of extreme heat days in places like California. Turner is an associate professor of urban planning and geography at UCLA, and she is the interim faculty co-director of the Luskin Center for Innovation.

Watch the video story:


Taking the Measure of L.A.’s ‘Cool Pavement’ Experiment

A CNN story on the climate adaptation strategies used by eight world cities described research conducted by V. Kelly Turner, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. The article described Los Angeles’ use of cooling paint on city streets as part of a pilot project to measure the effect on surface and ambient temperatures. Turner, an assistant professor of urban planning, and research partner Ariane Middel of Arizona State University collected data from the project and found that treated street surfaces were cooled by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they also found that heat radiating from the streets elevated temperatures immediately above the surface. Another type of paint could yield different results, and the city is continuing the program to see what methods work best. 


Turner on the Urgent Work of Chief Heat Officers

V. Kelly Turner, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, co-authored a CalMatters opinion piece offering guidance to chief heat officers, the government officials tasked with coordinating a strategic response to extreme heat. Los Angeles appointed its first chief heat officer in June, and a statewide position is also under consideration. Turner and co-author David Eisenman of the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions wrote that heat waves are becoming longer and hotter and the most vulnerable people need cooling immediately. They urged policymakers to base their interventions on science, pointing to research that shows the effectiveness of urban cooling tools such as tree canopies and reflective roofs. And they urged heat officers to act with urgency to coordinate heat-action efforts across many agencies. “We cannot wait for extreme heat policies to evolve across bureaucracies over decades,” they wrote. “Chief heat officers must get many pieces moving quickly. They must convene, collaborate and cajole.”