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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 691; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070691

Environmental Health Related Socio-Spatial Inequalities: Identifying “Hotspots” of Environmental Burdens and Social Vulnerability

Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
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Academic Editor: Nelson Gouveia
Received: 14 April 2016 / Revised: 30 June 2016 / Accepted: 1 July 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: multiple burdens and benefits; spatial inequality; social vulnerability; “hotspots”; indicators; dasymetric method multiple burdens and benefits; spatial inequality; social vulnerability; “hotspots”; indicators; dasymetric method
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Shrestha, R.; Flacke, J.; Martinez, J.; van Maarseveen, M. Environmental Health Related Socio-Spatial Inequalities: Identifying “Hotspots” of Environmental Burdens and Social Vulnerability. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 691.

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