Discoveries and Solutions at the Intersection of Heat, Health, and Housing

The deadliest hazard is not a hurricane or tornado, but it is the one that sneaks up unnoticed in the middle of a warm summer day. 

According to the CDC, more people die in the U.S. from heat than all other natural disasters combined. Heat has been the deadliest hazard in the USA in the past 60 years.

While policymakers consider mobile homes and manufactured housing as an option for affordable housing and a solution to the housing shortage in Arizona, residents of mobile homes are 6 to 8 times more likely to perish from indoor heat exposure compared with residents of other types of housing. While mobile homes make up only 5% of the total housing stock in Arizona, they account for 40% of indoor heat deaths every year.

The Knowledge Exchange for Resilience is connecting heat as a health hazard by way of housing systems.

We discovered that mobile home residents are more exposed to heat because of their housing structure. The residents of mobile homes are disproportionately affected by the heat in Arizona.

This problem has many layers and stakeholders so our tasks and activities vary a lot and include mapping, data collection and analysis, research publications, work with community partners, policy development, and creating heat mitigation solutions.

There are different levels and scales of those solutions.

One of the directions that we are working on is to make changes in existing policies and laws to open more assistance programs for mobile home residents. Another set of solutions includes more technical-oriented solutions like improving the insulation of houses, providing additional cooling equipment, etc, along with natural solutions like vegetation. There are also solutions that include community engagement.

The difficult part about those solutions is not finding them but creating a system of how to implement them. It requires funding, stakeholders, and decision-makers to act together. We created a Heat Mitigation Solutions Guide for Mobile Homes with more than 50 solutions.

Arizona Mobile Home Park Map

ASU’s Geospatial Research & Solutions (GRS) created point-level map/GIS data of Mobile Home Parks in Arizona. To our knowledge, no such source exists for the state of Arizona.

It contains 519 mobile home parks both active and inactive parks and has information about the park names, addresses, whether the park is one parcel or made of many parcels, and data sources.

GIS-Data/Mobile Home Maricopa Shape File

Phillips, Lora A., Melissa Guardaro. (2022). “Mobile Homes Have a Major Climate Change Problem.” Slate.

Solís, P., Varfalameyeva, K., & Hernandez, C. A. (2022). “Heat resilience among mobile home owners in Arizona: Towards a multi-scale approach to address spatial incongruence and accountable decision making.” GeoJournal. In Publication.

Phillips, Lora A., Patricia Solís, Chuyuan Wang, Katsiaryna Varfalameyeva, and Janice Burnett. (2019). “Engaged Convergence Research: An Exploratory Approach to Heat Resilience in Mobile Homes.” The Professional Geographer 73(4): 619-631.

Varfalameyeva Katsiaryna, Patricia Solís, Lora A. Phillips, Elisha Charley, David M. Hondula, and Mark Kear. (2021). “Heat Mitigation Solutions Guide for Mobile Homes.” Knowledge Exchange for Resilience Solutions Series. Tempe: Arizona State University.

Sailor, D. J., Wentz, E., Anand, J., Alhazmi, M., Aguilar, E., Mehner, A. (2022, January 26). Avoided residential air conditioning energy costs associated with cooling the city: A case study for Phoenix Arizona USA [Symposium session]. 17th Symposium on Societal Applications: Policy, Research and Practice, AMS 102nd Annual Meeting, Houston, TX, United States.

Varfalameyeva, Katsiaryna. (2020). “An illusion of affordability: the economic costs of heat exposure for mobile housing in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.” Master Thesis. Arizona State University.

Solís Patricia, Katsiaryna Varfalameyeva, Lora A. Phillips, Elisha Charley. (2021). “Heat Resilience and Housing Assemblages: effects on home and well being among mobile home dwellers of Mesa, Arizona.” [Presentation] American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting.

Guardaro, Melissa (2022, August 23). “XX.” Housing Supply Study Committee, Arizona State Legislature.

Phillips, Lora A. (2022, August 23). “Housing in the Context of Extreme Heat.” Housing  Supply Study Committee, Arizona State Legislature.

High Country News (2022, September 28). “‘You’re living in a tin can.’” Print interview, Caroline Tracey.

ABC 15 ARIZONA (2022, September 20). “Phoenix mobile home owners forced off land for development.” Television News interview, Ashley Holden. 

FOX 10 Phoenix Local TV (2022, September 19). “Arizonans living in mobile or manufactured homes are at higher risk in the heat, research suggests.” Television News interview, Steve Nielsen. 

CBS 5 Phoenix 3TV (2022, September 15). “Over one-third of heat-related indoor deaths occur in manufactured or mobile homes.” Television News interview, Alexis Dominguez. 

KJZZ (2022, September 14). “Hot Town: Nearly 30% of metro Phoenix's heat-related deaths occur in manufactured homes.” Radio interview, Steve Goldstein, with Mark Kear. 

AZ Mirror (2022, August 24). “Arizona’s Housing Crisis Goes Hand-in-Hand with the State’s Water and Heat Crises.” Print interview, Gloria Rebecca Gomez. 

Knowledge Exchange for Resilience (2021, December 16). “Origins | A new model for building community resilience.” Don Newlen, and Drew Moraca, Fervor Creative. 

Los Angeles Times (2021, October 28). “Poor neighborhoods bear the brunt of extreme heat, ‘legacies of racist decision-making.’” Print interview, Tony Barboza, with Ruben Vives. 

Washington Post (2021, July 2). “Extreme heat is killing people in Arizona’s mobile homes.” Print interview, Karen Peterson. 

PBS Terra (2021, June 7). “How America’s Hottest City is Innovating to Survive | Weathered.” Mayia May.

ABC 15 News (2021, April 23). “Arizona researchers look for ways to decrease heat deaths in trailers.” Television News interview, Courtney Holmes.

Arizona Republic (2021, January 31). “Heat killed a record number of people in Arizona last year, ‘a staggering increase.’” Print interview, Ian James. 

High Country News (2020, September 1). “Extreme heat is here, and it’s deadly.” Print interview, Jessica Kutz. 

National Geographic (2020, June 16). “As summer arrives, how will the most vulnerable escape deadly heat and COVID-19?" Print interview, Stephen Leahy. 

AZ Mirror (2020, May 21). “Experts fear COVID-19 pandemic will lead to more summer heat deaths.” Print interview, Allison Stevens.  

Los Angeles Times (2020, May 5). “Coronavirus could worsen death toll of summer heat waves, health officials warn.” Print interview, Anna M. Phillips, with Tony Barboza. 

Arizona Republic (2020, May 3). “Self-isolating from COVID-19 in a mobile home? That could be deadly in Arizona”. Print interview, Mark Kear, Margaret Wilder, Patricia Solís, David Hondula, Mark Bernstein. 

New York Times (2019). “As Phoenix heats up, the night comes alive.” Print interview, Marguerite Holloway.