The urban heat island effect is linked to the built environment and threatens human health during extreme heat events. In this study, we analyzed whether characteristic land uses within an urban area are associated with higher or lower surface temperatures, and whether concentrations of "hot" land uses exacerbate this relationship. Zonal statistics on a thermal remote sensing image for the City of Toronto revealed statistically significant differences between high average temperatures for commercial and resource/industrial land use (29.1 °C), and low average temperatures for parks and recreational land (25.1 °C) and water bodies (23.1 °C). Furthermore, higher concentrations of either of these land uses were associated with more extreme surface temperatures. We also present selected neighborhoods to illustrate these results. The paper concludes by recommending that municipal planners and decision-makers formulate policies and regulations that are specific to the problematic land uses, in order to mitigate extreme heat.
C. Rinner, M. Hussain (2011) Toronto’s Urban Heat Island - Exploring the Relationship between Land Use and Surface Temperature. Remote Sensing 3(6): 1251-1265