Meet the 2021 Campaign Cities

Atlanta, Georgia

Year: 2021

Campaign Lead Organization(s): Spelman College

Get Involved:

Guanyu Huang |


More hot days by the end of the century compared to the beginning (US CRT Climate Explorer)


Population that does not speak English "very well" compared to 8.4% national average. (2019 ACS - US Census)


Population living in poverty, compared to 12.5% national average. (2019 ACS - US Census)


Population living alone, compared to 15% national average. (2019 ACS - US Census)


Atlanta ranks among the most heat vulnerable cities in the country.  Found by prior work to be warming more rapidly than all but two other cities in the United States (Lanza & Stone, 2016), Atlanta is further characterized by the greatest level of income inequality of any city nationwide (Bloomberg, 2019). The combination of rapid warming and a high prevalence of poverty amongst urban residents greatly elevates the risk of heat illness and mortality during heat wave events.  With thousands of households estimated to lack access to central air conditioning, and with the clustering of those experiencing energy poverty within majority African American neighborhoods, Black Atlantans are confronting a greater risk of heat vulnerability than perhaps any other group in the United States. Through this proposed study, we aim to measure and map the spatial pattern of heat risk with more precision than prior work, and to document how heat risk aligns with other important dimensions of population vulnerability to climate change, including race and ethnicity, income, access to air conditioning in the home, population comorbidities for heat illness, and public investment to date in climate adaptation.  We believe the outcome of this work, if funded, will yield a unique and valuable dataset for climate justice research.

Lead Organization(s)

Spelman College

Partner Organizations

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Emory University
  • University of Georgia 
  • City of Atlanta
  • Georgia Climate Project
  • West Atlanta Watershed Alliance
  • Partnership for Southern Equity

Campaign Goals / Anticipated Outcomes

  • Establish the spatial pattern of heat vulnerability across Atlanta to inform targeted climate adaptation and resilience initiatives.
  • Raise awareness with the public about heat-related risks and heat vulnerability over Atlanta.
  • Establish a strong network of academic, municipal, and community partners to advance urban heat island-related research and policy in Atlanta and other Georgia cities. 



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NIHHIS Headquarters

Address: 1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910

About Us

NIHHIS is an integrated information system that builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat, defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience, develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat.  NIHHIS is a jointly developed system by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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