Projected urbanization in North Carolina’s Piedmont-Triad Region; the urban heat island effect and future consequences related to citizen health and deterioration of local ecosystems

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Samantha Gaillard (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jay Lennartson

Abstract: The North Carolina Piedmont-Triad Region is a 12-county and 62 municipality section of the state that features major highway systems such as I-40, I-85, and I-77. Within this geographic region are three major metropolitan cities that are the main focus of this research: Greensboro, High Point, and Winston Salem. The cities which analyzed are not the largest in the state, but they are beginning to reflect similar climate consequences in comparison with their more populated neighbors: Durham and Charlotte. When comparing the demographics in the state from 2010 to 2020, the Piedmont Triad revealed higher levels of sprawl which have begun to impact many variables such as population increase and emissions output. The focus of this research will be analyzing how projected urbanization in the Piedmont Triad is contributing to city climate change impacts through the urban heat island effect. Town solutions and citizen health will be referenced to draw reliable conclusions on the importance of municipal and immediate action in the Piedmont Region of NC. The urban heat island effect is being exaggerated within more urbanized centers through the continued destruction of green, natural spaces by the absorptive properties of asphalt and alternative heat-absorbing materials. The relationship between city and climate is dependent and has a direct impact on the amount of heat being trapped and/or reflected. Consequences of the urban heat island effect will be the most consistent through water body analysis, meteorological patterns, and being able to compare the cities to their rural outskirts. The results of this paper are to conclude that the North Carolina Piedmont Triad region is experiencing an urban heat island effect that is threatening citizens and local ecosystem sustainability.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Language: English
Date: 2021
Climate, North Carolina, Heat Islands, Urbanization, Geography

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