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Title:Spatiotemporal approaches to understanding environmental justice and multi-contextual segregation
Author(s):Park, Yoo Min
Director of Research:Kwan, Mei-Po
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kwan, Mei-Po
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McLafferty, Sara; Cidell, Julie; Li, Bo
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Spatiotemporal Methods
Geospatial Analysis
Geographic Information Science (GIS)
Environmental Justice
Multi-Contextual Segregation
Air Pollution Exposure
Environmental Health
Human Mobility, Uncertain Geographic Context Problem (UGCoP).
Abstract:This doctoral dissertation research makes advances in conceptualizations and methodologies in racial/ethnic segregation, environmental health, and environmental justice research by incorporating human mobility into an analytical framework. Many environmental justice studies have examined the association between residential segregation and racial disparities in environmental exposure, but little is known about how segregation in non-residential contexts impacts these inequalities. This dissertation argues that people experience segregation and unequal exposure to air pollution not only in their residential neighborhoods but also in various locations of daily activity, such as in the workplace or social/recreational venues. To examine such complexities, it moves beyond residence-based static approaches and suggests a new comprehensive notion of segregation, called multi-contextual segregation (segregation occurring in various everyday life contexts), and a new spatiotemporal method for assessing the association between multi-contextual segregation and the disparity in exposure to air pollution. This approach––which uses geospatial datasets that include people’s daily travel information–– addresses several methodological problems (e.g., the uncertain geographic context problem and the modifiable areal unit problem) that may have undermined the reliability of the findings of previous residence-based studies. The findings of the case study of the Atlanta metropolitan area reveal that the association between segregation and racial disparities in air pollution exposure differs by times of day and race. During the daytime, people are more integrated for work in high-traffic areas (downtown) and consequently, all racial groups share similarly high levels of traffic-related air pollution in these areas. The daytime integration in the central cities may be because of the influx of white suburban/exurban commuters. In contrast, no recognizable racial integration is observed in large job clusters in the suburbs––where air pollution from traffic is relatively low. At night, if white people experience higher levels of residential segregation, they are more likely to experience lower levels of near-road air pollution exposure. However, such a beneficial effect is not found in other racial groups. This uneven spatial distribution of racial groups may be closely related to the regional transit system, which was built to prevent people of color from reaching white-flight neighborhoods in the suburbs and exurbs. It suggests that a number of minority people that do not own a private vehicle, particularly African-Americans, may have to live, work, shop, and undertake social and recreational activities within areas reached by the transit lines. Such limited mobility is more likely to entrap racial minorities in the inner cities or inner-ring suburbs with high-traffic volumes both during the day and at night. These findings contribute to advancing knowledge about the effects of residential and non-residential segregation on racial disparities in environmental exposures and health risk. This dissertation generates critical insights for the development of effective policies for addressing environmental inequalities. Policies for establishing an extensive and equitable public transit system should be implemented together with the policies for residential mixes among racial groups in order to mitigate traffic-generated air pollution and environmental disparities. The effort toward the fair distribution of environmental burdens and benefits would contribute to achieving environmental justice and health equity and improving all individuals’ quality of life, well-being, and health.
Issue Date:2019-04-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Yoo Min Park
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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