Residential land use, the Urban heat island, and water use in phoenix: A path analysis

Subhrajit Guhathakurta, Patricia Gober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


While previous studies have shown that urban heat islands (UHI) tend to increase residential water use, they have not yet analyzed the feedbacks among vegetation intensity, diurnal temperature variation, water use, and characteristics of the built environment. This study examines these feedback relationships with the help of a path model applied to spatially disaggregated data from Phoenix, Arizona. The empirical evidence from the observations in Phoenix suggests the following: (1) impervious surfaces contribute to increased residential water use by exacerbating UHI; (2) larger lots containing pools and mesic vegetation increase water demand by reducing diurnal temperature difference; and (3) smart design of urban environments needs to go beyond simplistic water body- and vegetation-based solutions for mitigating uncomfortably high temperatures and consider interactions between surface materials, land use, UHI, and water use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • heat islands
  • land cover
  • land use
  • path analysis
  • water use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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