Though summer heat is ubiquitios through the valley, heat maps of the region identity higher surface temperatures based on the amount of green materials (such as trees, grass and gardens) and the types and composition of materials such as color--black asphalt versus white roofs. The impact has been demonstrated in a research project by ASU, where two neighborhoods, just two miles apart, measured a 13F degree difference in surface temperature largely as a result of these two factors.
When equity maps (maps based on socio-economic factors such as income and race) are compared to heat maps, there is a high correlation between heat-vulnerable communties and neightborhoods with higher surface temperatures. Simularly, neighborhoods with lower tree canopy are also found in disadvantaged communities .
The City of Phoenix is utilizing "equity maps" to identify heat-vulnerable communities and to select neighborhoods for specific actions such as tree planting and the construction of cool corridors. Below is a reference list of various equity maps being utilized for heat mitigation programs:
The American Forests Tree Equity Score uses census data and tree canopy data to rank neighborhoods by comparing socio-economic data with tree canopy. The ASU UREX Project built a heat vulnerablility map identifying density, socio-economic data and land use.