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2017 Hellman Fellow

Iryna Dronova

Urban resilience to intensifying heat under different climatic and socioeconomic contexts (UCB)

Iryna Dronova is an Associate Professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental planning & Landscape Architecture and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Geography. Her research considers landscape change factors, such as population growth, sprawl, and vegetation loss, and their implications on ecosystems at different spatial and temperature scales.

During her 2017 Fellowship she studied a global sample of growing cities from different climates to better understand the resilience of urban landscapes to increasing heat – a worldwide risk to human health and well-being. She analyzed the relative importance of specific contributing factors, variables not yet well understood. This research transformed her thinking and inspired the direction of others on her team. One graduate student applied the research considerations to a smaller, localized study which became his Master’s thesis. Their published findings suggest new tools and policy recommendations to approach urban warming and inform other research in sustainable urban planning today.

The Fellowship gave me a unique opportunity to explore understudied questions about urban warming under the freedom of novel, unconventional concepts and emerging remote sensing tools. It allowed for creative and out-of-the-box thinking and inspired new ways of thinking to inform policy decisions.

– Iryna Dornova, Ph.D.

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