Abstract for: Dynamics of Urban Warming: How Human-Environment Interaction Creates Urban Heat Islands?

Through the interaction of human-environment components, cities create a positive temperature difference over their surroundings, and in many cases that difference is growing. Understanding how and why cities create their own warming is of great importance to alleviate the infrastructure management and human-centered sustainability challenges that urban heat islands pose. This paper lays the groundwork for the development of an integrated model/ game to study urban warming as a result of neighborhood-scale and city-wide feedback processes. A two-layer system dynamics model composed of interlinked citywide and neighborhood sub-models is presented that includes the feedback processes among social, economic, and environmental processes that influence urban heat island dynamics, such as land use changes, building material choices, efficiency of cooling systems, or transportation-related heat generation. The model is integrated with a game to explore how neighborhood and city-level decision-making interact with urban warming. The game will be used to inform model development, explore the effects of interventions across time and space, and study decision-making processes under varying circumstances. Experiments with the game, based on the model, will improve the understanding of the role and importance of representing decision-making processes in simulated environments.