Factors of subjective heat stress of urban citizens in contexts of everyday life
Abstract. Heat waves and the consequent heat stress of urban populations have a growing relevance in urban risk management and strategies of urban adaptation to climate change. In this context, social science studies on subjective experiencing of heat as stress by urban citizens are a new emerging field. To contribute to the understanding of self-reported subjective heat stress and its major determinants in a daily life perspective, we conducted a questionnaire survey with 323 respondents in Karlsruhe, Germany, after heat waves in July and August 2013. Statistical data analysis showed that subjective heat stress is an issue permeating everyday activities. Subjective heat stress at home was lower than at work and in general. Subjective heat stress in general, at home, and at work was determined by the health impairments experienced during the heat and the feeling of being helplessly exposed to the heat. For subjective heat stress at home, characteristics of the residential building and the built environment additionally played a role. Although the rate of implemented coping measures was rather high, coping measures showed no uniform effect for the subjective heat stress. We conclude that in terms of urban adaptation strategies, further research is needed to understand how various processes of daily social (work) life enable or limit individual coping and that communication strategies are important for building capacities to better cope with future heat waves.