Melting Metropolis: everyday histories of health and heat in London, New York, and Paris since 1945

Year of award: 2022


  • Dr Christopher Pearson

    University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

  • Dr Kara Schlichting

    Queens College, City University of New York, United States

  • Dr Laura Balderstone

    University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

  • Dr Shelda-Jane Smith

    University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Project summary

Urban heat raises a host of health problems. Heatwaves are torrid manifestations of how high temperatures disrupt urban life, especially for the most marginalized, and they bring issues of climate injustice into stark relief. Yet extreme temperatures are only one aspect of urban heat and health, a changing relationship that has impacted past and present communities. This project brings together a team of scholars, a community engagement manager, and a participatory artist to transform understandings of urban heat and health. It explores the history of high temperatures in the postwar era, taking three global cities as its focus: London, New York and Paris. Drawing on and contributing to studies on climate justice, it investigates how Londoners, New Yorkers and Parisians have experienced heat and sought to mitigate its impact on their health and wellbeing. Community engagement (CE) is threaded throughout the project and informs how the project team seeks to rethink understandings of urban heat by moving beyond a focus on 'resilience.' In seeking to create new academic and non-academic conversations on the challenging interaction between the climate crisis and cities, it will provide fresh perspectives on urban history, environmental history, the medical humanities, and emotional and sensory history.