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Disentangling the Complex Effects of Socioeconomic, Climatic, and Urban Form Factors on Air Pollution: A Case Study of China

by Yupeng Liu 1,2, Jianguo Wu 1,3,* and Deyong Yu 1,*
1
Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability (CHESS), State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology (ESPRE), Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, Fujian, China
3
School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030776
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
China’s tremendous economic growth during the past three decades has resulted in worsening air quality in most of its cities. However, the spatiotemporal patterns and underlying drivers of air pollution in China remain poorly understood. To address this issue, we used stepwise regression to identify major socioeconomic, climatic, and urban form factors influencing air pollution in 69 major cities across China. Our results showed that social factors such as population size and density were positively correlated with emissions of PM2.5, PM10, NOx, and SO2. Economic factors such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP of secondary industry were positively correlated with industry and transportation emissions but negatively correlated with residential emissions of air pollutants. Urban form attributes such as measures of urban fragmentation and contiguity were important in explaining patterns of emissions from residential, power generation, and transportation sectors. As for climatic factors, higher precipitation, higher wind speed, and higher temperatures were all negatively correlated with air pollution levels. We also found that the effects of socioeconomic, climatic, and urban from factors on air pollution levels varied considerably among seasons and between the annual and seasonal scales. Our findings have useful implications for urban planning and management for controlling air pollution in China and beyond. View Full-Text
Keywords: fine particulate matter; air pollution index; built-up area; urban sprawl; urban morphology fine particulate matter; air pollution index; built-up area; urban sprawl; urban morphology
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Liu, Y.; Wu, J.; Yu, D. Disentangling the Complex Effects of Socioeconomic, Climatic, and Urban Form Factors on Air Pollution: A Case Study of China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 776.

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