Urban heat islands in transit-oriented development designated areas in a high-latitude city - Edmonton, Canada


  • Sandeep Agrawal School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Alberta
  • Ghazal Lotfi School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Alberta
  • Nilusha Welegedara School of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Alberta


Urban heat island, Transit-oriented developments, Surface temperature, High-latitude city, Edmonton


Transit-oriented developments (TODs), as a smart growth policy, have gained popularity as a way to combat the negative effects of urban sprawl. TODs are also purported to have both environmental and socio-economic benefits. However, little or no research exists regarding their environmental impact, specifically in high-latitude cities. This study aims to bridge the knowledge gap in the literature by analyzing the relationship between TODs and the urban heat island (UHI) effect, which is an environmental phenomenon that results in high temperatures in urban areas. We studied seven transit stations in the city of Edmonton, Canada designated as sites of transition to TODs, to determine the extent of UHI effects in TODs in high-latitude cities. Our results show a significant UHI effect in Edmonton’s TOD-designated (TODD) areas over the last decade compared to non-TODD areas. The variation was mainly linked to the reduced vegetation cover at the expense of increasing developments. Although non-TODD areas also experienced an increase in temperature, the rate of increase in land surface temperature (LST) and UHI effect was higher in the select TODD areas. Our findings suggest urban planners should consider UHI mitigation strategies such as preserving or increasing natural landscape as a key requirement to developing and designing the newly built forms in TODD areas.