Special Issue "Environmental Impacts on Urban Health and Well-Being—Sectoral Components towards Understanding the Urban System"

A special issue of Urban Science (ISSN 2413-8851).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. K. Heinke Schlünzen

Meteorological Institute, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: meso- and microscale meteorology; scale interactions in the atmosphere; dynamics and chemistry in the micro-scale (e.g., urban areas, small valleys) and mesoscale (e.g., coastal areas, mountain ranges); interaction of atmosphere; ocean (incl. sea ice); biosphere and chemosphere; development of coupled models; model uncertainty; model evaluation; knowledge transfer (e.g., public domain models, guidelines for environmental impact studies)
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Oßenbrügge

Institute of Geography, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: urban political ecology; climate change and urban systems and environmental justice; globalization and crisis driven urban development with reference to European and South African cities
Guest Editor
Dr. Peter Hoffmann

Department of Mathematics, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: urban system modelling; urban climate; biometeorology; urban wellbeing; regional climate change; downscaling approaches; atmospheric modelling; mathematical modelling; coupling of model components

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

According to the conceptual model of von Szombathely et al. (2017), urban health and well-being depend on environmental stressors like urban meteorology, noise level, or air quality. As an independent and intervening sector, the morphology of a city, like the distribution of urban blue and green spaces and the infrastructure, has to be taken into account. Furthermore, urban society, in its socio-economic diversity, is as relevant as individual living and working conditions in cities. All four sectors are interrelated, resulting in a unique condition that impacts health and well-being of urban dwellers. While a great deal of sectoral knowledge has been published, the development of models and methodologies to quantitatively describe single and combined impacts of the urban system on health and well-being is still beginning.

This Special Issue shall cover publications on tools, methodologies and analyses results of all four sectors that result in a quantitative description of sectoral and multi-sectoral impacts on urban health and urban well-being. Since the sectoral impacts differ for different cities, this Special Issue focuses on intermediate sized cities of the global North (1 to 4 Million inhabitants).

Reference:

Von Szombathely, M.; Albrecht, M.; Antanaskovic, D.; Augustin, J.; Augustin, M.; Bechtel, B.; Bürk, T.; Fischereit, J.; Grawe, D.; Hoffmann, P.; Kaveckis, G.; Krefis, A.C.; Oßenbrügge, J.; Scheffran, J.; Schlünzen, K.H. A Conceptual Modeling Approach to Health-Related Urban Well-Being. Urban Sci. 2017, 1, 17. doi:10.3390/urbansci1020017.

Prof. Dr. K. Heinke Schlünzen
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Oßenbrügge
Dr. Peter Hoffmann
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 papers will be 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. Urban Science is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1000 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 system;

  • quantitative assessment;

  • modelling;

  • environmental stressor;

  • morphology;

  • society;

  • urban health;

  • urban well-being

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
An Agent-Based Modeling Framework for Simulating Human Exposure to Environmental Stresses in Urban Areas
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2020036
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (24456 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several approaches have been used to assess potential human exposure to environmental stresses and achieve optimal results under various conditions, such as for example, for different scales, groups of people, or points in time. A thorough literature review in this paper identifies the [...] Read more.
Several approaches have been used to assess potential human exposure to environmental stresses and achieve optimal results under various conditions, such as for example, for different scales, groups of people, or points in time. A thorough literature review in this paper identifies the research gap regarding modeling approaches for assessing human exposure to environment stressors, and it indicates that microsimulation tools are becoming increasingly important in human exposure assessments of urban environments, in which each person is simulated individually and continuously. The paper further describes an agent-based model (ABM) framework that can dynamically simulate human exposure levels, along with their daily activities, in urban areas that are characterized by environmental stresses such as air pollution and heat stress. Within the framework, decision-making processes can be included for each individual based on rule-based behavior in order to achieve goals under changing environmental conditions. The ideas described in this paper are implemented in a free and open source NetLogo platform. A basic modeling scenario of the ABM framework in Hamburg, Germany, demonstrates its utility in various urban environments and individual activity patterns, as well as its portability to other models, programs, and frameworks. The prototype model can potentially be extended to support environmental incidence management through exploring the daily routines of different groups of citizens, and comparing the effectiveness of different strategies. Further research is needed to fully develop an operational version of the model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Relation between Observed and Perceived Traffic Noise and Socio-Economic Status in Urban Blocks of Different Characteristics
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010020
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (14174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Living in cities offers many benefits and thus more and more people are living in urban areas. However, the concentration of human activities also creates environmental stressors with severe influence on people’s health and well-being. Noise is an environmental stressor with known health [...] Read more.
Living in cities offers many benefits and thus more and more people are living in urban areas. However, the concentration of human activities also creates environmental stressors with severe influence on people’s health and well-being. Noise is an environmental stressor with known health impact. Despite this, studies investigating small-scale difference in noise exposure and annoyance are lacking. Against this background, this case study investigates environmental justice empirically, focusing on the distribution of road traffic noise and its perception in Hamburg, Germany. The study outlines a methodological approach that takes into account subjective and objective measures of exposure in small-scale residential blocks. The results show that annoyance by noise is clearly related to noise emission. Moreover, different groups are affected by noise pollution in our study area unequally. In particular, younger people and people with lower socio-economic status have higher probabilities to be affected by noise. Additionally, it emerged that participants reporting higher levels of annoyance from noise are on average younger than those feeling less annoyed. Overall, these results show that the current legal noise limits applicable to residential planning processes in German cities are not sufficient to prevent substantial annoyance effects in residential populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Active Transportation Decision-Making against the Background of Air Quality Information Provision: Walking Route Preferences of German Residents
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010019
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1134 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study aims to assess whether, and how, provision of information about air quality along inner-city roads influences individuals’ intentions to walk further away from traffic-dense roads. In an experiment, German residents (n = 597) were either exposed to a map that [...] Read more.
The study aims to assess whether, and how, provision of information about air quality along inner-city roads influences individuals’ intentions to walk further away from traffic-dense roads. In an experiment, German residents (n = 597) were either exposed to a map that showed, or a map that did not show, air pollution levels along two routes. The routes had the same starting and end points but differed with respect to expected traffic density. Furthermore, the availability of green space (i.e., a park environment) and two air pollution information provision elements—traffic light color-coding and explanations about the relationship between air pollution and health—were experimentally manipulated. Both the availability of green space and the provision of air quality information along the two routes increased the intentions to walk along the low (vs. high) traffic density road. Spatial psychological distance mediated the effect of the availability of green space on intentions to walk along the low traffic density road. The mediation effect disappeared when traffic lights were used for informing individuals about air pollution levels. Public policy makers can therefore be recommended to increase availability of green space and raise awareness of air quality conditions along roads via intuitively interpretable schemes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Exposure to Heat Stress with a Simple Urban Model
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010009
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3242 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As a first step in modeling health-related urban well-being (UrbWellth), a mathematical model is constructed that dynamically simulates heat stress exposure of commuters in an idealized city. This is done by coupling the Simple Urban Radiation Model (SURM), which computes the mean radiant [...] Read more.
As a first step in modeling health-related urban well-being (UrbWellth), a mathematical model is constructed that dynamically simulates heat stress exposure of commuters in an idealized city. This is done by coupling the Simple Urban Radiation Model (SURM), which computes the mean radiant temperature ( T m r t ), with a newly developed multi-class multi-mode traffic model. Simulation results with parameters chosen for the city of Hamburg for a hot summer day show that commuters are potentially most exposed to heat stress in the early afternoon when T m r t has its maximum. Varying the morphology with respect to street width and building height shows that a more compact city configuration reduces T m r t and therefore the exposure to heat stress. The impact resulting from changes in the city structure on traffic is simulated to determine the time spent outside during the commute. While the time in traffic jams increases for compact cities, the total commuting time decreases due to shorter distances between home and work place. Concerning adaptation measures, it is shown that increases in the albedo of the urban surfaces lead to an increase in daytime heat stress. Dramatic increases in heat stress exposure are found when both, wall and street albedo, are increased. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Associations of Noise and Socioeconomic and -Demographic Status on Cardiovascular and Respiratory Diseases on Borough Level in a Large German City State
Urban Sci. 2017, 1(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci1030027
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 14 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
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Abstract
Worldwide, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are increasing. Environmental noise and the socioeconomic and sociodemographic situation are important factors for the diseases. Using borough health claims data from 2011 in the city of Hamburg, ecological analyses with principal component analyses were conducted to describe [...] Read more.
Worldwide, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are increasing. Environmental noise and the socioeconomic and sociodemographic situation are important factors for the diseases. Using borough health claims data from 2011 in the city of Hamburg, ecological analyses with principal component analyses were conducted to describe the relationship of road traffic noise Lden (day, evening, and night) > 65 dB(A), physician density, and social deprivation with regional prevalence rates of heart failure and hypertension (n = 67 boroughs). Additionally, associations between the considered factors with borough prevalence rates of acute bronchitis and asthma in children up to 14 years old were analyzed. The multivariate regression analyses (ANCOVA) indicated that the socioeconomic and sociodemographic borough background might be associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, showing the strongest association among hypertensive female patients with 9.90 percent (p < 0.0001) in the highest social deprivation category, when compared to the group of low social deprivation. However, associations between noise, physician density, and the respective health outcomes were negligible. Results will serve as a basis for further investigations. By using data from two surveys, future studies will focus on individual level data to assess the validity of our model, and to develop strategies to reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
How Does the Urban Environment Affect Health and Well-Being? A Systematic Review
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010021
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (884 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In times of rapid urbanization, health and well-being of citizens is increasingly recognized as a challenge. A remarkable amount of research on relations between urban environments and health or well-being has been conducted. To get an insight about the existing measurements on both [...] Read more.
In times of rapid urbanization, health and well-being of citizens is increasingly recognized as a challenge. A remarkable amount of research on relations between urban environments and health or well-being has been conducted. To get an insight about the existing measurements on both health combined with well-being, a systematic literature search was conducted using the databases PubMed and ScienceDirect including references until July 2017. To classify the references a conceptual model describing interrelationships between factors that may be associated with health-related urban well-being was used. The keywords “urban”, “well-being”, and “health” were applied together with factors described in the model. Twenty-four articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these, most studies focused on associations between urban green, health and well-being showing the great importance of green space usage in urban settings to promote better health and well-being. Health was mostly assessed by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12); to measure well-being, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS) was mostly used. There are still only a few studies investigating the great complexity of urban health and well-being. More specifically, there is a lack in interdisciplinary approaches that highlight the complexity of urban structures and dynamics and their possible influence on urban health and well-being. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Is It Possible to Distinguish Global and Regional Climate Change from Urban Land Cover Induced Signals? A Mid-Latitude City Example
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010012
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2922 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The local climate in cities differs from the one in rural areas, most prominently characterized by increased surface and air temperatures, known as the “(surface) urban heat island”. As climate has changed and continues to change in all areas of the world, the [...] Read more.
The local climate in cities differs from the one in rural areas, most prominently characterized by increased surface and air temperatures, known as the “(surface) urban heat island”. As climate has changed and continues to change in all areas of the world, the question arises whether the effects that are noticeable in urban areas are “homemade”, or whether some of them originate from global and regional scale climate changes. Identifying the locally induced changes of urban meteorological parameters is especially relevant for the development of adaptation and mitigation measures. This study aims to distinguish global and regional climate change signals from those induced by urban land cover. Therefore, it provides a compilation of observed and projected climate changes, as well as urban influences on important meteorological parameters. It is concluded that evidence for climate change signals is found predominantly in air temperature. The effect of urban land cover on local climate can be detected for several meteorological parameters, which are air and surface temperature, humidity, and wind. The meteorology of urban areas is a mixture of signals in which the influencing parameters cannot be isolated, but can be assessed qualitatively. Blending interactions between local effects and regional changes are likely to occur. Full article
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