Next Article in Journal
The Making of Sustainable Urban Development: A Synthesis Framework
Next Article in Special Issue
Avoiding Decline: Fostering Resilience and Sustainability in Midsize Cities
Previous Article in Journal
Impacts of Mining and Urbanization on the Qin-Ba Mountainous Environment, China
Previous Article in Special Issue
Synthesis of Household Yard Area Dynamics in the City of San Juan Using Multi-Scalar Social-Ecological Perspectives
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 491; doi:10.3390/su8050491

Abandonment, Ecological Assembly and Public Health Risks in Counter-Urbanizing Cities

1
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
2
Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Received: 7 April 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4718 KB, uploaded 19 May 2016]   |  

Abstract

Urban landscapes can be transformed by widespread abandonment from population and economic decline. Ecological assembly, sometimes referred to as “greening”, following abandonment can yield valuable ecosystem services, but also can pose a risk to public health. Abandonment can elevate zoonotic vector-borne disease risk by favoring the hyperabundance of commensal pests and pathogen vectors. Though greater biodiversity in abandoned areas can potentially dilute vector-borne pathogen transmission, “greening” can elevate transmission risk by increasing movement of pathogen vectors between fragmented areas and by giving rise to novel human-wildlife interfaces. Idled and derelict infrastructure can further elevate disease risk from vector-borne and water-borne pathogens, which can build up in stagnant and unprotected water that maintenance and routine use of delivery or sanitation systems would otherwise eliminate. Thus, framing “greening” as inherently positive could result in policies and actions that unintentionally exacerbate inequalities by elevating risks rather than delivering benefits. As counter-urbanism is neither a minor pattern of urban development, nor a short-term departure from urban growth, homeowner and municipal management of abandoned areas should account for potential hazards to reduce health risks. Further socioecological assessments of public health risks following abandonment could better ensure the resilience and well-being of communities in shrinking cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: coupled natural human ecosystem dynamics; ecosystem services; emerging infectious disease; dilution effect; biodiversity; environmental justice coupled natural human ecosystem dynamics; ecosystem services; emerging infectious disease; dilution effect; biodiversity; environmental justice
Figures

Figure 1

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).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gulachenski, A.; Ghersi, B.M.; Lesen, A.E.; Blum, M.J. Abandonment, Ecological Assembly and Public Health Risks in Counter-Urbanizing Cities. Sustainability 2016, 8, 491.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top