Socioeconomic status, greenspace and exposure to multiple environmental stressors in Toronto, Canada

Authors: Tor Oiamo*, Ryerson University
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Hazards and Vulnerability, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Environment; noise; air pollution; greenspace; health; equity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor


Environmental noise from mobile and stationary sources poses a significant risk to health and wellbeing in densely populated areas. Likewise, spatial variations in air quality within cities put certain populations at higher risk of adverse health impacts. Previous research shows a spatial covariance between air quality and noise in urban environments and that health effects of co-exposure to these pollutants are additive. Conversely, previous research indicates that greenspace can act as a moderator of environmental stressors in cities through numerous mechanisms. This study seeks to understand the relationship between greenspace, environmental noise and air pollution in a large metropolitan city, and furthermore assess socioeconomic differences in access to greenspace and potential benefits associated with this. The analysis utilized socioeconomic data from the 2016 census at the level of dissemination areas. Environmental noise levels were based on monitoring and high resolution noise models created in 2016, and air pollution concentrations for fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxide were based on monitoring and temporally validated land use regression models for the period 2010-2015. A moderate covariance between air pollution and noise, particularly nitrogen dioxide, was observed across the city. The association did not change significantly when greenspace was taken into account. However, socioeconomic status was associated with access to greenspace, environmental noise and air pollution, suggesting an inequitable distribution of environmental services that can act to reduce health risks of environmental stressors.

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