With the unprecedented urbanization during the past three decades, air quality in many Chinese cities has been a serious issue which poses great challenges for urban sustainability. This study examines the health consequences of development patterns in China by establishing the linkage between urban form, air pollution level, and cardiorespiratory mortality rate. We assembled a dataset by compiling a series of variables from multiple sources, including China’s Disease Surveillance Points (DSP) system, which forms a nationally representative sample of mortality for the year 2005, Chinese census, satellite imagery, and the Chinese National Land Use Database. After controlling for local climate, demography, socioeconomics, and other pollution factors, this study finds that urban form elements (e.g., urban density, fragmentation level, forest/green space ratio) have significant influences on PM2.5
(atmospheric particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) concentration, thus influencing the incidence of cardiorespiratory mortality at the county level. These results may help explain how the type and pattern of development shape public health by influencing air quality and form an evidence-based land use policy to improve environmental quality and public health.
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