Urbanization

Exposure to Urban Parks Improves Mood and Reduces Negativity on Twitter

Authors: Abhishek Chaudhary1, Alexander Mathys1
Author Affiliations: 1Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich

Background: Today’s increasingly urban and sedentary lifestyles are correlated with rising rates of depression. While evidence is accumulating that time spent in nature can improve mental health, the magnitude and duration of benefits from nature exposure and the types of nature exposure that are most effective remain unclear. Here, we analyze the words written by individuals on social media to investigate the effects of urban nature exposure on mental health.

Methods: Tweet timeline histories were collected for roughly 5000 users who tweeted within a San Francisco Park in Summer 2016. Using sentiment analysis, which estimates the happiness of text based on the relative prevalence of happy and sad words, sentiment time curves are estimated before, during, and after a tweet occurs in a park. These curves are used to estimate the marginal increase in sentiment from a park exposure as well as the duration of that effect. Sentiment curves and marginal benefits are also estimated for sub-groups of parks based on official park classifications. Word frequency patterns are analyzed to gain insight into the mental processes that respond to urban nature exposure.

Findings: Tweets in parks have significantly higher sentiment scores than tweets occurring before and after park visits. Tweets in the 6 hours following a park exposure are happier than tweets occurring during the 6 hours before exposure, indicating that time in urban greenspace has a sustained positive impact on mood. The marginal impact and duration of the sentiment boost is greatest for Regional Parks, followed by Neighborhood Parks, followed by Civic Plazas and Squares. Positive words such as ‘beautiful’, ‘happy’, and ‘fun’ appear more frequently inside park exposure tweets. Negative words such as ‘no’, ‘don’t’, and ‘can’t’ appear less frequently during and after park exposure compared to baseline. The first-person pronoun “I” appears less in and around park exposure tweets compared to baseline.

Interpretation: Users on Twitter use happier words during and after being exposed to urban parks. Specific word frequencies indicate that park exposure results in a shift away from negative thinking as well as a shift from individual to collective thinking. Regional Parks have the greatest positive impact on sentiment, which indicates that larger parks with greater amounts of nature are more effective than paved urban plazas for improving mental health outcomes.

Model Simulation of Margalla Forest to Mitigate Heatwaves and Improve Air Quality Index

Authors: Adnan Arshad1, Lizhen Zhang1, Kamran Yousfi1, Waying Wang1
Author Affiliations: 1China Agricultural University

This research article illustrates the application of SILVA and SWAT growth model in forestry practices to improve air quality index (AQI) and simulate the possible opportunities to mitigate extreme climatic changes to build resilience of forest. Pakistan is a developing country and contributes minimum to global warming, its CO2 emissions being less than 0.41% of the total global emission. Current urbanization, industrialization and motorization leads to air pollution, as countries around the sphere continue to emit millions of tons of carbon, the impacts of increasing temperature will keep deteriorating major cities (Islamabad & Rawalpindi). It was labeled as the most climate vulnerable nation according to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI-12-2013). Extreme climatic events i.e. heatwaves, rising temperature and hail storming effecting all aspects of life of these cities and ranging from economic, social, food, energy, water, forest and politics. Both major cities are located on the front line of forest areas and current environmental and anthropogenic activities leads to deforestation and degradation. Urban ecosystems, particularly Margalla forests has the capacity to absorb and store maximum amount of urban CO2 and that recognized its significance in confronting further air pollution and heatwaves. Margalla forests are rich in carbon sequestrating and importantly prioritize in the field of adaptation and mitigation of extreme climate change events at globally. SILVA model simulations resulted that 2/3 of the urban CO2 stock can be deposited by Margalla forest which contributes 19% of the Margalla ecosystem. Model projected that forest areas of both cities has ability to absorb CO2 emissions up to 55.4 million tons. Models validation skill scores showed that forest has huge potential to contribute to global efforts to reduce carbon footprints through climate smart practices of restoration, afforestation, conservation, reforestation and sustainable management of Margalla forests. SILVA estimated that forest population has excellent sink capacity to absorb maximum atmospheric carbon to combat global climate change impacts and efficiently manage REDD+ so it contributes to improve the AQI and HW.

Residential surrounding greenness is associated with slower cognitive decline in the ageing Whitehall II cohort: a longitudinal study

Authors: Carmen de Keijzer1,2,3, Cathryn Tonne1,2,3, Xavier Basagaña1,2,3, Antònia Valentín1,2,3, Archana Singh-Manoux4,5, Jordi Alonso2,3,6, Josep Maria Antó1,2,3, Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen1,2,3, Jordi Sunyer1,2,3, Payam Dadvand1,2,3
Author Affiliations: 1ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology; 2Universitat Pompeu Fabra; 3CIBER Epidemiologia y Salu Pública; 4INSERM, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Université Paris-Saclay; 5Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College of London; 6Health Services Research Unit, IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques

Background – Cognitive functioning is one of the most important indicators of healthy ageing. The evidence on beneficial associations of green space with cognitive function in older adults is very scarce and mainly limited to cross-sectional studies. This study aimed to investigate the association between long-term residential surrounding greenness and cognitive decline.

Methods – This longitudinal study was based on three follow-ups of 6506 participants (45-68 years old) from the Whitehall II cohort from the United Kingdom, covering a 10-year period (1997-1999 to 2007-2009). The exposure assessment was based on the characterization of outdoor residential surrounding greenness at each follow-up. We obtained the greenness across buffers of 500 and 1000 meter around the participants’ residential address using satellite images on greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NVDI) from a summer month in every follow-up period. A battery of four cognitive tests was repeated three times over the study period, assessing reasoning, short-term memory, and verbal fluency. The cognitive scores were converted to z-scores and summarized in a “global cognition” z-score. To quantify the impact of greenness on the repeated measurements of cognition, we used linear mixed effect models that included an interaction between age and the indicator of greenness. The models were adjusted for time-varying covariates including individual and neighborhood indicators of socioeconomic status.

Findings – An interquartile range increase in NDVI was associated with a difference in the global cognition z-score of 0.020 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.003 to 0.037, p=0.02) over 10 years. Comparing study participants of 55.7 years old, this difference was equivalent to a 4.6% slower decline over 10 years. Similar positive associations were also observed for reasoning (0.022, 95% CI: 0.007 to 0.038) and verbal fluency (0.021, 95% CI: 0.002 to 0.040). We observed some suggestions for stronger associations among women and participants with higher secondary education.

Interpretation – The findings suggest that higher residential surrounding greenness is associated with slower cognitive decline. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and provide information on the specific characteristics of green spaces that can maximize healthy cognitive ageing, especially for older adults residing in urban areas.

Air Quality, Airborne Diseases and Sustainability: Interpreting Human Health taking Case Study of Kolkata, India

Authors: Md Senaul Haque1, Ram Babu Singh1,2
Authors Affiliations: 1Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi; 2International Geographical Union (IGU)

Background:
The current phase of urbanization which on the other hand could do better to be termed as “Asian Phase of Urbanization” are mainly concentrated to the megacities which resulted the existing city to grow larger and thus come the concern of human health while living in a megacity. The emerging researches at megacities in developing countries have found to be focused on air pollution risk where exposure has been termed as an inevitable phenomenon. The current paper thus drew to interpret the level of pollutants present in the ambient air and resultant health outcome in the form of respiratory diseases that people encounters while exposed to the pollutants at varied micro environment. The criteria pollutants evaluated are Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), Respirable Particulate Matter (RPM), Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx).

Methods:
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), under the guidance of National Air Monitoring Programme (NAMP), monitored air quality in the district of Kolkata at 17 stations. The monitoring of pollutants in these stations was carried out for 24 hours with a frequency of twice a week to have 104 observations in a year. Air quality assessment has drawn with applying the method termed Exceedance Factor (EF) where the presence of listed pollutant’s (RPM, SPM, NO2 and SO2) annual average concentration get classified into four different categories namely critical, high, moderate and low pollution. A health assessment had followed with structured questionnaire at nearby dispensaries which fall under areas with varied air pollution level. Three dispensaries have been surveyed with 100 respondents.

Findings and Interpretation:
Out of total 17 ambient air quality monitoring stations, 5 fallen under critical and remaining 12 locations under high category of NO2 concentration while for RPM, 4 recorded critical and 13 under high pollution category. The causes for much concentration of NO2 and RPM have been identified as vehicular emission (51.4 %) followed by industrial sources (24.5 %) and dust particles (21.1 %). It shown that respondents with respiratory diseases (85.1 %) has outnumbered water borne diseases (14.9 %) across the three surveyed dispensaries and include ARI (60 %), COPD (7.8 %), UTRI (1.2 %), Influenza (12.7 %) and AFB (3.4 %). Although the pollution level had recorded critical, only 39.3 % of the respondents have felt that outdoor (air) pollution has affected their health. People’s awareness need to be enhanced besides addressing some sustainable measures to curb the pollution.

Climate Change and Urban Health: Combined Burden of Heat and Ultrafine Particles (UFP)

Author: Oskar Masztalera
Author Affiliation: 1Charité Berlin

BACKGROUND: Heat stress can be defined as the impact of meteorological variables leading to an excessive strain on the thermoregulatory capacity of the organism. Ultrafine Particles (UFP) include all particles with a thermodynamic diameter less than 100 nanometers and is ubiquitous in urban atmospheres. Traffic emissions, especially from diesel engines, are a major UFP source. It might be primarily responsible for the adverse health effects of overall particulate matter. It is not appropriately captured by current measurements and regulatory limits. There is evidence for adverse synergetic effects of air pollution and heat stress. Though studies dedicated to the combined burden of UFP and heat stress are missing.

OBJECTIVES AND METHODS: To generate possible approaches for the further scientific examination and the development of targeted preventive measures, this paper identifies overlaps between the impacts of UFP and those of heat stress. Within a systematic review, 63 epidemiological studies and review papers are examined. Additional literature is included in the analysis. Relevant scientific issues are elaborated from an interdisciplinary perspective. A possible index for the combined burden is developed (UTCI*UFP).

RESULTS: Overlaps between UFP and heat stress are given, concerning the functional systems, on which both stressors act in the organism, the cardiorespiratory diseases they favour, vulnerable subpopulations, and vulnerable spaces on a global, regional and local scale. Temporal coincidences throughout day and year are imaginable. Interactions and synergetic effects are plausible in all of the named dimensions. Exposure to one stressor could render a subject more sensitive to the effects of the other. Synergetic threshold crossing through a summation of subclinical effects could favour disease outbreaks. An increasing exposure has to be expected especially in low and middle income countries with limited adaptive capacities.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS. It is plausible, that UFP and heat stress are hazards for urban health, both as single stressors, as well as in combination. The single and combined burden could increase through ongoing urbanization, global ageing and climate change. Several preventive measures could deliver multiple health benefits through combined protection from UFP, heat stress and climate change in general. Further scientific examination of both single stressors and the combined burden is reasonable to facilitate a rapid implementation of targeted preventive measures. Planetary Health could provide an innovative framework for interdisciplinary cooperation.

Air Quality Measures in Morelia City, Michoacan, Mexico in 2016 and Risk Communication

Authors: Alejandro Molina-Garcia1, Arturo Reyes-Hernandez1, Andrea Rodriguez-Gomez
Author Affiliations: 1Ministry of Health at Michoacan State

Background: The World Health Organization mentions that bad air quality causes 7 million premature deaths in the world associated to lung and heart diseases. Air pollution also affects ecosystems. The sources of air pollution is related with local economy, overloaded motor vehicle traffic, bad planning in urban zones and fuel consumption. Local geographic conditions and climate contributes to maintain good air quality breathing and with dispersion and accumulation of air pollutants. Here, this is the first records to know air quality in Morelia City, Mexico. To show if the air quality is affording with local regulations. Finally, to establish control and risk communication assessment. Citizens do not considerate that bad air pollution is a threat. Methods: Air quality measures during 365 days was done in around 2 kilometers with TELEDYNE trade mark sensor tools for several pollutants and meteorological conditions, mainly, O3, NO2, SO2, CO, PM10µ, PM2.5µ. The data was revising with national law regulations on air quality. Results: Particulate matter <2.5µ were 62.4 µg/m³ and 86.7 µg/m³ in 24 hours in april and may of 2016 (threshold levels is 45µ/m3); particulate matter 10µ was above 75 µg/m³ with highest values 160.7 µg/m³ since march through august, november and december, respectively. Ozone measures were above 0.095 ppm/hour with 0.920 ppm/hour in march, may and december in 2016. NO2 and SO2 were below threshold levels. Conclusions: The highest air polluted months were march, april and may with particulate matter 10µ, 2.5µ; and ozone in this zone of Morelia and their sources are by overloaded car traffic and forest fires on the land side mountains near from Morelia. April and may were the hottest months than ever registered before from NASA, NOAA reports and our air quality station. Local authorities must send early warnings on air quality in media access.

Quantifying the Social Costs of Health Impacts from Urban Housing Developments

Authors: Alistair Hunt1, Eleanor Eaton1, Dan Black2
Author Affiliations: 1University of Bath; 2DB+A

Background
The link between the quality of urban environment and health has become better understood recently, but policy makers have lacked an effective method with which to assess the possible health impacts of a proposed development as part of an overall investment decision. Consequently, development design may be biased away from that which encourages healthy lifestyles. The study aim is to show how the social costs of these health impacts can be defined in monetary terms, using real-world commercial urban housing developments in the UK, and thereby demonstrating to decision-makers the hidden health costs to society of poor quality urban development. Evidence is gathered on health impacts associated with housing design, the natural environment, neighbourhood quality, green spaces, and transport, and the economic welfare costs calculated for subsequent incorporation in urban development investment appraisal.

Methods
The first methodological step is to undertake the quantification of associative relationships between quality of the urban/human environment and health effects. This analysis allows us to delineate bounds to the health incidence rates associated with different forms of urban development. This has been carried out using an informal meta-analytical approach to the relevant literature. The analysis identifies the nature and extent of possible spatial development–health linkages, and role and importance of potential confounding factors.

The second methodological step is to undertake the economic valuation of changes in health impact incidence associated with different urban developments. For each health effect identified, we estimate an economic cost per case. Three cost elements are estimated: health treatment costs; productivity costs; welfare costs (pain & suffering).

Total cost estimates for specific developments are then derived and subsequently disaggregated according to who bears them (state, health care providers, employers, police, individual victims).

Findings
Sixty individual health impacts are monetised, out of a total of 80 health impacts identified in the analysis of health incidence. We find that the most important features of the built environment – in terms of their influence of health costs – are neighbourhood design, crime, and the natural environment. Mental health care and premature death account for the largest health costs; social care and victims bear the highest share of costs.

Interpretation
Provisional findings suggest that greater resources can be justifiably targeted at these features of the built environment, and that there is evidence with which health and social care providers may be able to negotiate directly with developers and planners regarding the design of these features.

Residential surrounding greenness is associated with slower cognitive decline in the ageing Whitehall II cohort: a longitudinal study

Authors: Carmen Keijzer1,2,3, Cathryn Tonne1,2,3, Xavier Basagaña1,2,3, Antònia Valentín1,2,3 , Archana Singh-Manoux4,5, Jordi Alonso2,3,6, Josep Maria Antó1,2,3, Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen1,2,3, Jordi Sunyer1,2,3, Payam Dadvand1,2,3
Author Affiliations: 1ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology; 2Universitat Pompeu Fabra; 3CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública; 4INSERM Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Université Paris-Saclay; 5Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College of London; 6Health Services Research Unit, IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques

Background – Cognitive functioning is one of the most important indicators of healthy ageing. The evidence on beneficial associations of green space with cognitive function in older adults is very scarce and mainly limited to cross-sectional studies. This study aimed to investigate the association between long-term residential surrounding greenness and cognitive decline.

Methods – This longitudinal study was based on three follow-ups of 6506 participants (45-68 years old) from the Whitehall II cohort from the United Kingdom, covering a 10-year period (1997-1999 to 2007-2009). The exposure assessment was based on the characterization of outdoor residential surrounding greenness at each follow-up. We obtained the greenness across buffers of 500 and 1000 meter around the participants’ residential address using satellite images on greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NVDI) from a summer month in every follow-up period.
A battery of four cognitive tests was repeated three times over the study period, assessing reasoning, short-term memory, and verbal fluency. The cognitive scores were converted to z-scores and summarized in a “global cognition” z-score. To quantify the impact of greenness on the repeated measurements of cognition, we used linear mixed effect models that included an interaction between age and the indicator of greenness. The models were adjusted for time-varying covariates including individual and neighborhood indicators of socioeconomic status.

Findings – An interquartile range increase in NDVI was associated with a difference in the global cognition z-score of 0.020 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.003 to 0.037, p=0.02) over 10 years. Comparing study participants of 55.7 years old, this difference was equivalent to a 4.6% slower decline over 10 years. Similar positive associations were also observed for reasoning (0.022, 95% CI: 0.007 to 0.038) and verbal fluency (0.021, 95% CI: 0.002 to 0.040). We observed some suggestions for stronger associations among women and participants with higher secondary education.

Interpretation – The findings suggest that higher residential surrounding greenness is associated with slower cognitive decline. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and provide information on the specific characteristics of green spaces that can maximize healthy cognitive ageing, especially for older adults residing in urban areas.

Overcoming the global environmental health burden of our own development

Authors: Gabriel Filippelli1, M. Taylor2
Author Affiliations: 1Center for Urban Health, Indiana University; 2Macquarie University

New analyses are revealing a tremendous consequences of pollution on global health, with a disproportionate share of the impact borne by lower income nations, and minority and marginalized individuals. Common themes emerge on the drivers of this pollution impact, including lack of regulations, research, expertise, and funding for mitigation. Creative approaches need to be developed and applied to address and overcome these obstacles, as “business as usual” continues externalize the human health costs related to pollution and exerts its negative influence on global environmental health.

Collectively, the solutions to pollution elimination cannot be developed with technology alone, but rather alongside those very people and communities that need solutions—these are the real drivers for sustained change. They are too often left out of the conversation, even when ample evidence exists that the human burden of environmental exposures can be reduced both by limiting the exposure source and by modifying the behavior of the exposed individual.

Imagine a planet 20 years in the future where resource extraction and utilization continues to follow a reckless trajectory where “business as usual” reigns, an approach that intrinsically leaves people and their health out of “business.” Like global warming and resulting sea level rise, we might all find ourselves standing ankle deep in the refuse of centuries of ignorant exploitation, suffering the health effects of our, in hindsight, poor choices.

Modelling and mapping the spatial distribution of urban road traffic emission, health risks and social economic status in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Authors: Thi Phuong Linh Le1, Abraham Leung2
Author Affiliations: 1Vietnam Aviation Academy; 2Griffith University

Background:
PM2.5 pollutants emitted from road vehicles is a significant cause of mortality developing cities. PM2.5 levels in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam are dangerously high. Annual mean PM2.5 levels ranged from 172,30 to 560,88 μg/m3, significantly exceeding acceptable levels of 300 μg/m3 (daily 1 h max). Many studies have considered the health impacts of air pollution. There is, however, scant attention on assessing the socio-spatial equity and health burden of traffic air pollution. Previous studies indicate that proximity to higher levels of traffic is associated with the increased mortality risk. In addition, populations with lower socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to be exposed to higher air pollution levels than groups of higher SES. This study investigates whether the public health burden is associated with urban road traffic emission in HCMC and whether reducing air pollution will lead to the reduction in the number of hospital admissions, premature deaths and number of years of life lost (YLL). The associations between air pollution and SES in HCMC was also explored.

Methods:
The damage function approach, offered by the Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP) software tool, is used to estimate mortality risk and economic health burden of PM2.5 concentrations on population. The results of 19 districts and 5 suburban districts in HCMC are analysed and mapped. Sensitivity analysis is also applied to estimate air pollution reduction effects under different scenarios.

Findings:
In HCMC, PM2.5 from the emission of on-road vehicles is estimated to contribute up to 780 (95% CI: 340-1180) hospitalisations, 320 premature deaths (90% CI: 240-570), and 4600 YLL (90% CI: 3600-7600). Motorcycle, truck and bus are the main sources of PM2.5 emission, associated with 210 (95 % CI: 160-320) deaths each year. Groups with lower SES are at higher risk for adverse health outcomes than low poverty neighbourhoods. Sensitivity analysis shows that reducing PM2.5 exposure by 5%, 10%, and 15% would result in fewer premature deaths, fewer hospital admissions and a high gain of life-years.

Interpretation:
This study offers a rapid and efficient estimate of traffic air pollution risk. Further analysis can be performed in cities with similar settings. The findings suggest that reducing motor vehicle emissions, especially from motorcycle, truck and bus could produce substantial health benefits. This calls for better land use and transport planning. Mode shifts from motor vehicles to public/active transport is urgently needed for urban areas in developing countries.

Planetary Health in a Rapidly Changing Geopolitical Order- Role of Multi-Stakeholder Engagement & Dialogic Praxis in Resource-Constrained LMIC context

Author: Maheswar Satpathy1
Author Affiliations: 1Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, India

Background: Life in Low-and-Middle Income Countries is very different i.e. lived realities of humans and animals alike vary exceedingly from countries having adequate ratio of resources. Consistently, analysis formed on phenomenological and engaged ethnographic- narrative moorings, and health system focused social determinants based research indicate an unequal distribution of resources, persistent inequity coupled with inequality lasting over generations. Developing countries also experience highest degree of unplanned urbanization due to high population, causing a skewed demand-supply ratio. In addition, large-scale industrialization in order to meet the needs of its population (as in case of India, China or Nigeria) has led to deforestation, erosion of fertile landmass, resulting in alarming climate change, further affecting the health and wellbeing of the population.

Method: It is a Pan-Indian study in conception phase (SDG outcomes were piloted already), aiming to assess the Health and Wellbeing related concerns, and how do Youths (N= 566) at a University set-up in Eastern India (Odisha State) conceptualize the inter-relationships. Odisha has remained historically prone to experience the highest number of natural calamities in India. Data on 3 major parameters were collected using a mixed methods research (Qual-Quant-Qual): i) Knowledge and Attitude on Health-related SDGs; ii) Inter-relationships between different SDGs, and how do they play a role in India’s Development; iii) Perceived Need, Relevance and Utility of Multi-stakeholder engagement in order to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Findings: Qual-phase-1 (FGDs) suggested inadequate knowledge, and poor practice of SDG agenda among students. The findings were complemented by the Quantitative Data, preliminary analysis of which suggests that majority (82%) of them are unaware of all SDGs, Health-Related SDGs (HRSDGs), and their inter-relationship. Similarly, in-depth interviews with 18 respondents further brought in nuanced thematic focus on the linkage between inadequate knowledge-indifferent attitude often lashing onto apathy and resultant poor practices related to SDGs e.g. Environmental Protection, Sustainable Production & Consumption, Water Sanitation and Hygiene. Although they loosely conceive of these as important, are unable to see how they are all achievable. Another striking thing is about a pragmatic attitude regarding inequity, inequalities and resource limitations in the local context, which was identified as a core area to be addressed. Youths also saw their role (enhanced engagement, dialogue, and discourses-praxis) to some degree, although expressed helplessness attributing it to lack of political will, and systemic lapses.

Impact/Implications: Youth-focused programs oriented towards enhanced SDG programming will enable a better Planetary Health, and has implications for the world in general, and LMICs in particular.

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