Modeling the Relationships Between Historical Redlining, Urban Heat, and Heat-Related Emergency Department Visits: An Examination of 11 Texas Cities. Academic Article uri icon


  • Place-based structural inequalities can have critical implications for the health of vulnerable populations. Historical urban policies, such as redlining, have contributed to current inequalities in exposure to intra-urban heat. However, it is unknown whether these spatial inequalities are associated with disparities in heat-related health outcomes. The aim of this study is to determine the relationships between historical redlining, intra-urban heat conditions, and heat-related emergency department visits using data from eleven Texas cities. At the zip code level, the proportion of historical redlining was determined, and heat exposure was measured using daytime and nighttime land surface temperature (LST). Heat-related inpatient and outpatient rates were calculated based on emergency department visit data that included ten categories of heat-related diseases between 2016 and 2019. Regression or spatial error/lag models revealed significant associations between higher proportions of redlined areas in the neighborhood and higher LST (Coef. = 0.0122, 95% CI = 0.0039 - 0.0205). After adjusting for indicators of social vulnerability, neighborhoods with higher proportions of redlining showed significantly elevated heat-related outpatient visit rate (Coef. = 0.0036, 95% CI = 0.0007-0.0066) and inpatient admission rate (Coef. = 0.0018, 95% CI = 0.0001-0.0035). These results highlight the role of historical discriminatory policies on the disparities of heat-related illness and suggest a need for equity-based urban heat planning and management strategies.

published proceedings

  • Environ Plan B Urban Anal City Sci

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, D., Newman, G. D., Wilson, B., Zhang, Y., & Brown, R. D.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Li, Dongying||Newman, Galen D||Wilson, Bev||Zhang, Yue||Brown, Robert D

publication date

  • March 2022