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Urban Environment and Public Health

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 7428

Special Issue Editors

College of Urban Economics and Public Administration, Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing 100070, China
Interests: urban economics; urban planning and governance; local public finance

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Guest Editor
College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Interests: urbanization; migration; urban planning and governance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Improving the resilience of urban health systems and public health are key challenges for both developed and developing countries, especially in the post-COVID-19 era. The urban environment can play a role in these efforts, which is why it has received increasing attention from urban researchers, planners and managers. Urban built and social environments, such as public space, medical facilities, transportation, social capital, and community cohesion, affect the physical and mental health of urban residents by influencing their physical activities, environmental exposures, and social interactions. This Special Issue focuses on the complex and diverse relationships between urban environment and public health. It aims to bring interdisciplinary academic discussion and multi-locational practical efforts into conversation with one another, and to help improve public health. In this Special Issue, we welcome research contributions on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Built and social environment of cities and neighborhoods;
  2. Environmental justice;
  3. Segregation and social inequality;
  4. Cross-scale interaction;
  5. Promotion of healthy lifestyles;
  6. Emergency response to infectious diseases;
  7. Mental health improvement;
  8. New data and methods in public health research.

Dr. Yan Yan
Prof. Dr. Tao Liu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • urban environment
  • public health
  • built environment
  • inequality
  • subject well-being
  • mental health

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 328 KiB  
Article
Life Satisfaction Factors, Stress, and Depressive Symptoms among Young Women Living in Urban Kampala: Findings from the TOPOWA Project Pilot Studies
by Rachel E. Culbreth, Karen E. Nielsen, Kate Mobley, Jane Palmier, Paul Bukuluki and Monica H. Swahn
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21020184 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1188
Abstract
Young women living in Kampala, Uganda, often face adversities related to Social Determinants of Mental Health (SDoMH) including poverty, food scarcity, environmental stressors such as high levels of community violence, and lack of adequate healthcare access. Two consecutive pilot studies were conducted to [...] Read more.
Young women living in Kampala, Uganda, often face adversities related to Social Determinants of Mental Health (SDoMH) including poverty, food scarcity, environmental stressors such as high levels of community violence, and lack of adequate healthcare access. Two consecutive pilot studies were conducted to assess the feasibility and acceptability of survey questions, wearable fitness trackers, and daily diaries before launching a larger prospective cohort study. Preliminary associations between SDoMH factors with depressive symptoms, stress levels, and life satisfaction were examined among the total sample of 60 women across two pilot studies. A total of 32.2% of respondents (out of n = 59) reported being depressed most or all of the time in the past 30 days. Frequent depressive symptoms correlated with food insecurity (χ2 = 5.38, df = 1, p = 0.02). Higher stress levels were significantly associated with lower overall life satisfaction scores (t = 2.74, df = 6.20, p = 0.03). Additionally, frequent depressive symptoms were associated with lower satisfaction scores in the living conditions and lifestyle domain (t = 2.22, df = 36.18, p = 0.03). However, overall life satisfaction scores and other domains (social relationships and personal independence) were not statistically associated with frequent depressive symptoms. Identifying the most impactful SDoMH factors among young women in Kampala can inform targeted approaches to improve mental health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Environment and Public Health)
19 pages, 14651 KiB  
Article
Greenspace as Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Essentialities in the Physical Environment
by Victoria Linn Lygum, Katia Dupret, Peter Bentsen, Dorthe Djernis, Sidse Grangaard, Yun Ladegaard and Charlotte Petersson Troije
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(17), 6689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20176689 - 31 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1756
Abstract
There is a scarcity of knowledge regarding the potential benefits of human–nature contact within the context of working life. Even more limited is the research that focuses on working outdoors and the setting in which it takes place. This study aimed to obtain [...] Read more.
There is a scarcity of knowledge regarding the potential benefits of human–nature contact within the context of working life. Even more limited is the research that focuses on working outdoors and the setting in which it takes place. This study aimed to obtain insight into key aspects of the physical environment relevant for the experienced benefits and challenges of workers exploring office work outdoors. We conducted interviews with key informants as well as photo registration and mapping of the different green spaces in the environments of six small or medium-sized workplaces. The information gathered was used as background knowledge for exploratory qualitative interviews, which were conducted while walking in natural settings chosen by the interviewees. With a landscape architectural perspective and an inductive approach, we explored employees’ experiences of bringing office work outdoors. The following themes emerged: ‘Simplicity,’ ‘Safeness’, ‘Comfort’, and ‘Contact with Nature’ were experienced as key aspects in relation to the physical environment, whereas ‘Sociality’, ‘Well-being’, and ‘Functioning’ stood out as the main benefits and, ‘Digital dependency’ and ‘Illegitimacy’ as challenges to overcome. Based on the identification of potential benefits and their prerequisites, we propose implications for practice and research that can be useful when focusing on bringing office work outdoors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Environment and Public Health)
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12 pages, 1178 KiB  
Article
Visiting Urban Green Space and Orientation to Nature Is Associated with Better Wellbeing during COVID-19
by Brenda B. Lin, Chia-chen Chang, Erik Andersson, Thomas Astell-Burt, John Gardner and Xiaoqi Feng
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3559; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043559 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2007
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely challenged mental health and wellbeing. However, research has consistently reinforced the value of spending time in green space for better health and wellbeing outcomes. Factors such as an individual’s nature orientation, used to describe one’s affinity to nature, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely challenged mental health and wellbeing. However, research has consistently reinforced the value of spending time in green space for better health and wellbeing outcomes. Factors such as an individual’s nature orientation, used to describe one’s affinity to nature, may influence an individual’s green space visitation behaviour, and thus influence the wellbeing benefits gained. An online survey in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia (n = 2084), deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2021), explores if nature experiences and nature orientation are positively associated with personal wellbeing and if increased amounts of nature experiences are associated with improvement in wellbeing in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that both yard and public green space visitation, as well as nature orientation scores, were correlated with high personal wellbeing scores, and individuals who spent more time in green space compared to the previous year also experienced a positive change in their health and wellbeing. Consistently, people with stronger nature orientations are also more likely to experience positive change. We also found that age was positively correlated to a perceived improvement in wellbeing over the year, and income was negatively correlated with a decreased change in wellbeing over the year, supporting other COVID-19 research that has shown that the effects of COVID-19 lifestyle changes were structurally unequal, with financially more established individuals experiencing better wellbeing. Such results highlight that spending time in nature and having high nature orientation are important for gaining those important health and wellbeing benefits and may provide a buffer for wellbeing during stressful periods of life that go beyond sociodemographic factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Environment and Public Health)
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10 pages, 1574 KiB  
Article
Application of a Machine Learning Method for Prediction of Urban Neighborhood-Scale Air Pollution
by Ka-Ming Wai and Peter K. N. Yu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032412 - 29 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Urban air pollution has aroused growing attention due to its associated adverse health effects. A model which could promptly predict urban air quality with considerable accuracy is, therefore, important and will benefit the development of smart cities. However, only a computational fluid dynamics [...] Read more.
Urban air pollution has aroused growing attention due to its associated adverse health effects. A model which could promptly predict urban air quality with considerable accuracy is, therefore, important and will benefit the development of smart cities. However, only a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model could better resolve the dispersion behavior within an urban canyon layer. A machine learning (ML) model using the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) approach was formulated in the current study to investigate vehicle-derived airborne particulate (PM10) dispersion within a compact high-rise-built environment. Various measured meteorological parameters and PM10 concentrations were adopted as the model inputs to train the ANN model. A building-resolved CFD model under the same environmental settings was also set up to compare its model performance with the ANN model. Our results showed that the ANN model exhibited promising performance (r = 0.82, fractional bias = 0.002) when comparing the > 1000 h PM10 measurements. When comparing the diurnal hourly measured PM10 variations in a clear-sky day, both the ANN and CFD models performed well (r > 0.8). The good performance of the CFD model relied on the knowledge of the in situ diurnal traffic profile, the adoption of suitable mobile source emission factor(s) (e.g., from MOBILE 6 and COPERT4), and the use of urban thermal and dynamical variables to capture PM10 variations in both neutral and unstable atmospheric conditions. These requirements/constraints make it impractical for daily operation. On the contrary, the ML (ANN) model adopted here is free from these constraints and is fast (less than 0.1% computational time relative to the CFD model). These results demonstrate that the ANN model is a superior option for a smart city application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Environment and Public Health)
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