Identifying the High Urban Heat Vulnerability Zones of a City for Prioritizing Mitigation Measures

Sonal Gangrade

Indian institute of technology Delhi, India

Jay Dhariwal

Indian institute of technology Delhi, India
Corresponding Author:

Cite this article

Gangrade, S., Dhariwal, J. (2024). Identifying the High Urban Heat Vulnerability Zones of a City for Prioritizing Mitigation Measures. In Proceedings of Energise 2023- Lifestyle, Energy Efficiency, and Climate Action, pp 217-225, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy.


  • Construction of a composite heat vulnerability index (HVI) using the unweighted additive overlay method
  • The framework is applicable for obtaining the HVI for any city
  • Policymakers and urban planners can utilize the framework to mitigate heat hazards and provide relief


Climate warming is raising global temperatures by 0.2°C every decade, generating severe heat waves and health risks. In India, urbanization has increased heat and humidity. The Urban Heat Island effect in Delhi puts many people at risk for heat-related health issues. This research identifies Delhi’s high-vulnerability zones based on people’s environmental, demographic, and socioeconomic conditions. The study analyzed vulnerability variables such as land surface temperature, land use, land cover, population density, and income level to identify high-risk zones in Delhi using the “unweighted additive overlay” approach. It is found that heat stress is most prevalent in 40 wards in Delhi’s central-western and eastern regions. These findings underline the necessity for adaption methods and specialized urban design strategies and policies for heat reduction for those with weak adaptive ability. The study would assist officials in providing heat relief to high-vulnerability wards and include heat mitigation methods in Delhi’s new master plan.


Urban Heat Island Effect, Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI), Mitigation, Temperature


  1. Census of India, District Census Handbook Nalgonda: Village and Town Directory, vol. Series-09, no. Part XII-A. 2011.
  2. C. Tuholske et al., “Global urban population exposure to extreme heat,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., vol. 118, no. 41, pp. 1-9, 2021.
  3. NBC, “National Building Code 2016, clause 6.2, Part 8 Building Services, Section 3, Air Conditioning, Heating and Mechanical Ventilation,” Natl. Build. Code India, vol. 2, p. 97, 2016.
  4. B. Allegranzi, E. Tartari, and D. Pittet, “‘Seconds save lives—clean your hands’: the 5 May 2021 World Health Organization SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign,” Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 2021.
  5. “Weather underground,” 2020.
  6. P. Singh, A. Sarkar Chaudhuri, P. Verma, V. K. Singh, and S. R. Meena, “Earth observation data sets in monitoring of urbanization and urban heat island of Delhi, India,” Geomatics, Nat. Hazards Risk, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1762-1779, 2022.
  7. M. W. Naikoo, M. Rihan, M. Ishtiaque, and Shahfahad, “Analyses of land use land cover (LULC) change and built-up expansion in the suburb of a metropolitan city: Spatio-temporal analysis of Delhi NCR using landsat datasets,” J. Urban Manag., vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 347-359, 2020.
  8. S. David Sundersingh, “Effect of heat islands over urban madras and measures for its mitigation,” Energy Build., vol. 15, no. 1-2 C, pp. 245- 252, 1990
  9. V. R. Khare, A. Vajpai, and D. Gupta, “A big picture of urban heat island mitigation strategies and recommendation for India,” Urban Clim., vol. 37, no. April, p. 100845, 2021.
  10. F. Salata et al., “Evaluation of Different Urban Microclimate Mitigation Strategies through a PMV Analysis,” Sustainability, vol. 7, no. 7. pp. 9012-9030, 2015.
  11. R. Emmanuel and H. J. S. Fernando, “Urban heat islands in humid and arid climates: Role of urban form and thermal properties in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Phoenix, USA,” Clim. Res., vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 241-251, 2007.
  12. A. L. Pisello, V. L. Castaldo, F. Rosso, C. Piselli, M. Ferrero, and F. Cotana, “Traditional and innovative materials for energy efficiency in buildings,” Key Eng. Mater., vol. 678, pp. 14-34, 2016.
  13. O. Aleksandrowicz, M. Vuckovic, K. Kiesel, and A. Mahdavi, “Current trends in urban heat island mitigation research: Observations based on a comprehensive research repository,” Urban Clim., vol. 21, no. April, pp. 1-26, 2017.
  14. F. Salata, I. Golasi, D. Petitti, E. de Lieto Vollaro, M. Coppi, and A. de Lieto Vollaro, “Relating microclimate, human thermal comfort and health during heat waves: An analysis of heat island mitigation strategies through a case study in an urban outdoor environment,” Sustain. Cities Soc., vol. 30, pp. 79-96, 2017.
  15. C. R. de Almeida, A. C. Teodoro, and A. Gonçalves, “Study of the urban heat island (Uhi) using remote sensing data/techniques: A systematic review,” Environ. – MDPI, vol. 8, no. 10, pp. 1-39, 2021.
  16. R. Kotharkar, A. Ramesh, and A. Bagade, “Urban Heat Island studies in South Asia: A critical review,” Urban Clim., vol. 24, no. December 2017, pp. 1011-1026, 2018.
  17. N. Borzino, S. Chng, M. O. Mughal, and R. Schubert, “Willingness to pay for urban heat island mitigation: A case study of Singapore,” Climate, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. 1-26, 2020.
  18. A. N. Nordin, G. H. T. Ling, M. L. Tan, C. S. Ho, and H. M. Ali, “Spatial and Non-Spatial Factors Influencing Willingness to Pay (WTP) for Urban Green Spaces (UGS): A Review,” J. Sustain. Dev., vol. 13, no. 6, p. 130, 2020.
  19. B. Stone et al., “Avoided heat-related mortality through climate adaptation strategies in three US cities,” PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 6, 2014.
  20. D. M. Weinberger et al., “Estimation of Excess Deaths Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, March to May 2020,” JAMA Intern. Med., vol. 180, no. 10, pp. 1336-1344, 2020.
  21. J. Bao, X. Li, and C. Yu, “The construction and validation of the heat vulnerability index, a review,” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 7220-7234, 2015.
  22. ARSET-NASA, “ARSET – Satellite Remote Sensing for Measuring Urban Heat Islands and Constructing Heat Vulnerability Indices.”
  23. W. T. L. Chow, W. C. Chuang, and P. Gober, “Vulnerability to Extreme Heat in Metropolitan Phoenix: Spatial, Temporal, and Demographic Dimensions,” Prof. Geogr., vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 286-302, 2012.
  24. C. E. Reid et al., “Mapping community determinants of heat vulnerability,” Environ. Health Perspect., vol. 117, no. 11, pp. 1730-1736, 2009.
  25. B. Jänicke, A. Holtmann, K. R. Kim, M. Kang, U. Fehrenbach, and D. Scherer, “Quantification and evaluation of intra-urban heat-stress variability in Seoul, Korea,” Int. J. Biometeorol., vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 1-12, 2019.
  26. B. C. Mitchell, J. Chakraborty, and P. Basu, “Social inequities in urban heat and greenspace: analyzing climate justice in Delhi, India,” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, vol. 18, no. 9, 2021.
  27. BBC News, “India heatwave: High temperatures killing more Indians now, Lancet study finds.”.
  28. A. Basu, “Heat-linked deaths increased by 68% in populations above 65 years: Lancet report,” The Hindu.
  29. IMD, “Heat waves criterion in India.” [Online]. Available:
  30. C. I. Opportunities and C. Sector, “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector.”
  31. I. Baud, N. Sridharan, and K. Pfeffer, “Mapping urban poverty for local governance in an Indian mega-city: The case of Delhi,” Urban Stud., vol. 45, no. 7, pp. 1385-1412, 2008.