Geospatial context of social and environmental factors associated with health risk during temperature extremes: Review and discussion

  • Man Sing Wong Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.
  • Hung Chak Ho | Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
  • Agnes Tse Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.


This study reviews forty-six publications between 2008 and 2017 dealing with socio-environmental impacts on adverse health effects of temperature extremes, in a geospatial context. The review showed that most studies focus on extremely hot weather but lack analysis of how spatial heterogeneity across a region can influence cold mortality/morbidity. There are limitations regarding the use of temperature datasets for spatial analyses. Only a few studies have applied air temperature datasets with high spatial resolution to health studies, but none of these studies have used anthropogenic heat as a factor for analysis of health risk. In addition, the elderly is generally recognized as a vulnerable group in most studies, but the interaction between old age and temperature risk varies by location. Other socio-demographic factors such as low income, low education and accessibility to community shelters may also need to be considered in the future. There are only a few studies which investigate the interaction between temperature and air pollution in a geospatial context, despite the fact that this is a known interaction that can influence health risk under extreme weather. In conclusions, although investigation of temperature effects on health risk is already at the “mature stage”, studies of socio-environmental influences on human health under extreme weather in a geospatial context is still being investigated. A comprehensive assessment is required to analyse how the spatial aspects of the geophysical and social environments can influence human health under extreme weather, in order to develop a better community plan and health protocols for disaster preparedness.



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climate and health, spatial, socio-environmental, vulnerability, temperature extremes
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How to Cite
Wong, M. S., Ho, H. C., & Tse, A. (2020). Geospatial context of social and environmental factors associated with health risk during temperature extremes: Review and discussion. Geospatial Health, 15(1).