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About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 28 February 2023
Manuscript Submission Deadline 20 May 2023

As nodes of dense human settlement and activity, cities present unique challenges and opportunities for mitigating the impacts of global climate change. This recognition has resulted in climate change at the city scale becoming a central concern for research, advocacy, and governance alike. An interdisciplinary body of scholarship on urban climate change is now slowly beginning to emerge. Our Research Topic contributes to such scholarship by building on two foundational insights: first, the impacts of climate change are distributed and experienced unevenly within and across societies, and second, understanding the dynamics of climate change in cities of the Global South requires concepts and approaches different than those that have conventionally been deployed in studying northern cities.

Against this background, this Research Topic develops the rubric of “thermal justice” to capture the complex and diverse intersections between urban heat, poverty, inequality, and climate adaptation, with a particular emphasis on the uneven dynamics of heat in the urban global South. We invite submissions that will draw on a range of locations, contexts, scales, social groups, methodologies, and data sources. We welcome submissions from historians, urban planners, geographers, anthropologists, architects, engineers, epidemiologists, and other interdisciplinary scholars focused on the study of urban heat. Among other themes, potential submissions could focus on the:

- ways in which thermal injustice is produced and experienced in particular contexts,

- actual and perceived thermal risks in community and occupational settings, and among vulnerable population groups,

- intersectional impacts of extreme heat,

- range of strategies that are deployed to blunt its effects at different scales, and

- methodological approaches for studying thermal inequalities in southern city contexts.

The goal of the Research Topic will be to contribute original, recent work that reveals and explores the complex and diverse intersections between heat, inequality, poverty, climate adaptation, and the cooling needs of vulnerable populations in cities across the Global South. The core theme of thermal justice will cover issues such as the impact of heat on health; on education; on productivity; on the everyday lives of informal outdoor workers, gig economy workers, home-based workers; looking at the diversity of thermal experiences and interactions between human and non-human dynamics at work and in the home. The papers in the collection will offer different but complementary perspectives on the core, underlying theme. By bringing the papers together, we hope to lay the foundations for a new research agenda and point to a direction for future research on thermal injustice.

Keywords: urban climate change, thermal justice, urban heat, poverty, inequality, climate adaptation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As nodes of dense human settlement and activity, cities present unique challenges and opportunities for mitigating the impacts of global climate change. This recognition has resulted in climate change at the city scale becoming a central concern for research, advocacy, and governance alike. An interdisciplinary body of scholarship on urban climate change is now slowly beginning to emerge. Our Research Topic contributes to such scholarship by building on two foundational insights: first, the impacts of climate change are distributed and experienced unevenly within and across societies, and second, understanding the dynamics of climate change in cities of the Global South requires concepts and approaches different than those that have conventionally been deployed in studying northern cities.

Against this background, this Research Topic develops the rubric of “thermal justice” to capture the complex and diverse intersections between urban heat, poverty, inequality, and climate adaptation, with a particular emphasis on the uneven dynamics of heat in the urban global South. We invite submissions that will draw on a range of locations, contexts, scales, social groups, methodologies, and data sources. We welcome submissions from historians, urban planners, geographers, anthropologists, architects, engineers, epidemiologists, and other interdisciplinary scholars focused on the study of urban heat. Among other themes, potential submissions could focus on the:

- ways in which thermal injustice is produced and experienced in particular contexts,

- actual and perceived thermal risks in community and occupational settings, and among vulnerable population groups,

- intersectional impacts of extreme heat,

- range of strategies that are deployed to blunt its effects at different scales, and

- methodological approaches for studying thermal inequalities in southern city contexts.

The goal of the Research Topic will be to contribute original, recent work that reveals and explores the complex and diverse intersections between heat, inequality, poverty, climate adaptation, and the cooling needs of vulnerable populations in cities across the Global South. The core theme of thermal justice will cover issues such as the impact of heat on health; on education; on productivity; on the everyday lives of informal outdoor workers, gig economy workers, home-based workers; looking at the diversity of thermal experiences and interactions between human and non-human dynamics at work and in the home. The papers in the collection will offer different but complementary perspectives on the core, underlying theme. By bringing the papers together, we hope to lay the foundations for a new research agenda and point to a direction for future research on thermal injustice.

Keywords: urban climate change, thermal justice, urban heat, poverty, inequality, climate adaptation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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