Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Department

Planning and Landscape Architecture

Advisor

Dr. Clifford Ellis

Committee Member

Professor Lynn Craig

Abstract

Scientists have acknowledged global warming as a serious problem to humankind. Even though the causes of global warming are disputed, the catastrophic effects this change in the ambient temperature will have on mankind and nature in general is now widely accepted (Davis, 2000). Global warming may benefi t some species in some locales throughout the world. For most of the larger species of plants and animals, including humans, global climate change will signifi cantly alter their environments. For humans, who have learned to adapt their environments to their needs, global climate change may lead to heat islands in urban areas, drought ridden arable lands, and a reduction in potable water for many areas of the world. These problems will drastically affect life in areas that experience extreme climate change (Goklany, 2000). In addition, as climatic extremes become more commonplace, “the ability of humans to adapt to these extreme cold and hot days for prolonged periods … will be challenged” (Naughton 2002). Environmental changes will affect the growing population of people living in poverty, and this raises concerns about the ability of urban dwellers to evacuate or to stay and face greater risks to their wellbeing. This problem is only going to become worse as each year is becoming hotter than the previous. The year 2005, the hottest year on record, had a higher than normal number of storms worldwide that disrupt the lives of millions of people worldwide. Changes in wind and weather patterns are happening at an accelerated pace, which may lead to an increase in number of natural disasters and an exponential expansion in the associated death toll caused by these catastrophic events. Evidence is mounting that species with short life cycles can adapt to rapid environment changes; however, long-lived species such as humans need several generations to achieve sustainable evolutionary adaptation (Rice, 2003).

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