A Systematic Review of the Development and Validation of the Heat Vulnerability Index: Major Factors, Methods, and Spatial Units

Yanlin Niu, Zhichao Li, Yuan Gao, Xiaobo Liu, Lei Xu, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Yujuan Yue, Jun Wang, Qiyong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose of review: This review aims to identify the key factors, methods, and spatial units used in the development and validation of the heat vulnerability index (HVI) and discuss the underlying limitations of the data and methods by evaluating the performance of the HVI. Recent findings: Thirteen studies characterizing the factors of the HVI development and relating the index with validation data were identified. Five types of factors (i.e., hazard exposure, demographic characteristics, socioeconomic conditions, built environment, and underlying health) of the HVI development were identified, and the top five were social cohesion, race, and/or ethnicity, landscape, age, and economic status. The principal component analysis/factor analysis (PCA/FA) was often used in index development, and four types of spatial units (i.e., census tracts, administrative area, postal code, grid) were used for establishing the relationship between factors and the HVI. Moreover, although most studies showed that a higher HVI was often associated with the increase in health risk, the strength of the relationship was weak. Summary: This review provides a retrospect of the major factors, methods, and spatial units used in development and validation of the HVI and helps to define the framework for future studies. In the future, more information on the hazard exposure, underlying health, governance, and protection awareness should be considered in the HVI development, and the duration and location of validation data should be strengthened to verify the reliability of HVI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

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