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INVESTIGATING URBAN HEAT STRESS VULNERABILITY IN TSHWANE: A CASE OF MELUSI INFORMAL SETTLEMENT
The negative impacts of climate change are increasingly affecting communities resulting in extreme vulnerability. This vulnerability is further intensified by several factors such as rapid urbanisation, informality, and the increased negative environmental impacts such as urban heat island effects.
Informal communities are regarded as extremely vulnerable to increased thermal conditions owing to their land-use practices and associated built forms. The study contributes towards the climate change discourse by exploring interrelationships between heat stress vulnerability and informal communities using Melusi, in the City of Tshwane, as a study area. The primary objective is to investigate the level of heat stress exposure experienced by this informal community and how individuals respond to limit their exposure to heat stress at a household level.
The study will employ a mixed-method research approach wherein both quantitative and qualitative data will be collected to investigate household adaptive capacity in relation to heat stress. A sample size of 357 informal households will be investigated concerning their perceived susceptibility and adaptive capacity to heat stress. Thereafter an observational analysis of 10 households using a structured checklist will be conducted to examine the built form and material use to understand the coping strategies used to limit their exposure to increased thermal conditions.
In terms of findings, the study intends to indicate that the knowledge, attitudes and practices adopted by informal communities influence their level of vulnerability to heat stress. It is anticipated that the results will reveal a correlation between households that make use of behavioural and structural interventions and lower exposure to extreme heat. Thus, highlighting the nature and level of adaptive capacity present in these communities.
In conclusion, the study aims to emphasize the harmful impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations and highlight the importance of micro-scale built environment interventions to mitigate these impacts in informal areas.