Extreme heat

In the wake of global climate change, our world is projected to heat up and experience more extreme heat waves over the next few decades. Phoenix, Arizona (where we are located) is one of the hottest locations on the planet and presents a testbed for understanding and addressing heat-related challenges. We are examining human adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, as well as new technologies for measuring the impact of extreme heat. So far, our projects include:

  • A summer-long diary study that reveals how extreme heat impacts human lives and how people cope with extreme heat. This study motivated our critical making work themed around adaption, focusing on artifacts for visualizing, coping with, and utilizing extreme heat. In constructing these artifacts, we critically reflect on both the benefits and drawbacks of designing for adaptation and suggest hybrid approaches that mitigate human impact on and help people adapt to climate change.
  • A thermal-sensing drone that will be used to understand temperature variations throughout the city. Heat does not impact everyone equally and has marginalizing effects on lower socioeconomic groups (e.g., stakeholders living in high-traffic areas or with limited access to cooling appliances). By studying microclimates within the city of Phoenix, we hope to raise awareness about the impact of heat on different neighborhoods and socio-economic groups.
  • A solar cooking study, examining ways to utilize extreme heat for sustainable outcomes. In this study, participants built solar ovens from scratch and experimented with solar recipes ranging from slow-cooked pork and chicken to bread, kale chips, brownies, beef jerky, and fruit rollups. Our findings depict solar cooking as a form of iterative DIY, which is simultaneously fun, educational, and challenging for the participants.