Chapter

Human Health and Urban Inequities

William G. Wilson

in Constructed Climates

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226901459
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226901473 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226901473.003.0006
Human Health and Urban Inequities

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This chapter covers health-related heat and pollution in cities, and provides examples of the stark socioeconomic inequities of these conditions, mirroring inequities in the provisioning of urban natural areas. Health problems arise from both heat and air pollution, with one dramatic example being an extreme heat wave that increased mortality rates in the elderly population. More subtle problems arise with air pollution, which increases heart attacks in the summer and pneumonia in the winter. Asthma represents another chronic problem, with high levels of either ozone or sulfur dioxide increasing the odds of suffering childhood asthma by 50% or more. Still, plots of asthma incidence and pollutant levels don't have a clear signal; that is, the connections between the two issues are hard to uncover. Given these urban environmental problems, one must still balance them against fundamentally different age-dependent mortality patterns for different genders and socioeconomic groups when seeking solutions and allocating scarce resources.

Keywords: urban; environmental problems; health problems; socioeconomic; pollutant

Chapter.  7855 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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