Understanding the interaction between human activities and physical health under extreme heat environment in Phoenix, Arizona

Health Place. 2023 Jan:79:102691. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102691. Epub 2021 Oct 13.


Long-term community resilience, which privileges a long view look at chronic issues influencing communities, has begun to draw more attention from city planners, researchers and policymakers. In Phoenix, resilience to heat is both a necessity and a way of life. In this paper, we attempt to understand how residents living in Phoenix experience and behave in an extreme heat environment. To achieve this goal, we introduced a smartphone application (ActivityLog) to study spatio-temporal dynamics of human interaction with urban environments. Compared with traditional paper activity log results we have in this study, the smartphone-based activity log has higher data quality in terms of total number of logs, response rates, accuracy, and connection with GPS and temperature sensors. The research results show that low-income residents in Phoenix mostly stay home during the summer but experience a relatively high indoor temperature due to the lack/low efficiency of air-conditioning (AC) equipment or lack of funds to run AC frequently. Middle-class residents have a better living experience in Phoenix with better mobility with automobiles and good quality of AC. The research results help us better understand user behaviors for daily log activities and how human activities interact with the urban thermal environment, informing further planning policy development. The ActivityLog smartphone application is also presented as an open-source prototype to design a similar urban climate citizen science program in the future.

Keywords: ActivityLog; Citizen science; Community resilience; Portable sensing; Urban heat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arizona
  • Cities
  • Extreme Heat*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Seasons