Date Presented

Spring 5-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. Laura Henry-Stone

Second Advisor

Dr. Sharon Foreman

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Styrsky


As climate change worsens and the world attempts to find solutions to global changes, it is important to identify how climate change will affect individual communities. Climate resilience tactics aim to protect vulnerable populations against environmental harms, such as excess heat. Historically, communities of color face forms of environmental racism. One example of structural racism includes the loans given out by the Home Owners Loan Corporation during the 1940s which “redlined” certain communities of color by refusing to give these neighborhoods loans and rated these areas undesirable for loaners. Urban heat islands occur in residential, densely populated areas with lots of impervious surfaces and little vegetation and result in extreme heat conditions. Redlined communities and urban heat island effects are strongly connected, which was the focus of the first part of this study. In the second part, data collection and patterns were analyzed in order to identify vulnerable communities within the city of Lynchburg, Virginia. This analysis helped inform what communities are most vulnerable by determining which neighborhoods experienced the most urban heat and what demographics comprise these communities. Redlined districts had close interaction with high temperatures in certain areas, but lack of full city coverage affected results. Other indicators such as Black residents and poverty rates also had a close relationship with high heat areas within the city according to Census tracts. Based on the findings, the neighborhoods of Seminary Hill, Fairview Heights, Winston Ridge, Diamond Hill, the Business District, and Tinbridge Hill were identified as areas that trended hotter than others in the city. These issues will be addressed by recommendation of collaborative action and field work to bring about policy changes within these neighborhoods, such as increased urban landscaping in certain communities and community empowerment through education.