Environmental health related socio-spatial inequalities: identifying "hotspots" of environmental burdens and social vulnerability

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Abstract

Differential exposure to multiple environmental burdens and benefits and their distribution across a population with varying vulnerability can contribute heavily to health inequalities. Particularly relevant are areas with high cumulative burdens and high social vulnerability termed as “hotspots”. This paper develops an index-based approach to assess these multiple burdens and benefits in combination with vulnerability factors at detailed intra-urban level. The method is applied to the city of Dortmund, Germany. Using non-spatial and spatial methods we assessed inequalities and identified “hotspot” areas in the city. We found modest inequalities burdening higher vulnerable groups in Dortmund (CI = −0.020 at p < 0.05). At the detailed intra-urban level, however, inequalities showed strong geographical patterns. Large numbers of “hotspots” exist in the northern part of the city compared to the southern part. A holistic assessment, particularly at a detailed local level, considering both environmental burdens and benefits and their distribution across the population with the different vulnerability, is essential to inform environmental justice debates and to mobilize local stakeholders. Locating “hotspot” areas at this detailed spatial level can serve as a basis to develop interventions that target vulnerable groups to ensure a health conducive equal environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number691
Number of pages23
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • METIS-317265
  • ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE
  • ITC-GOLD

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