Science Inventory

Fine-Scale Environmental Indicators of Public Health and Well-Being for Urban Communities

Citation:

Jackson, L. Fine-Scale Environmental Indicators of Public Health and Well-Being for Urban Communities. ACES: A Conference on Ecosystem Services, Jacksonville, FL, December 05 - 09, 2016.

Impact/Purpose:

Conference organizers requested that I contribute an eco-health presentation to a session. This will be a key audience to present a progress report on EnviroAtlas community research metrics.

Description:

Urban ecosystem services contribute to public health and well-being by buffering natural and man-made hazards, and by promoting healthful lifestyles that include physical activity, social interaction, and engagement with nature. As part of the EnviroAtlas online mapping tool, EPA and its research partners have identified urban environmental features that have been linked in the scientific literature to specific aspects of public health and well-being. Examples of these features include tree cover along walkable roads, overall neighborhood green space, green window views, and proximity to parks. Associated aspects of health and well-being include physical fitness, social capital, school performance, and longevity. In many previous studies, stronger associations were observed in disproportionately vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those of lower socioeconomic status.EnviroAtlas researchers have estimated and mapped a suite of urban environmental features by synthesizing newly-generated one-meter resolution landcover data, downscaled census population data, and existing datasets such as roads and waterways. Resulting geospatial metrics represent health-related indicators of urban ecosystem services supply and demand at the census block-group and finer. They have been developed using consistent methods to facilitate comparisons between neighborhoods and across multiple U.S. communities. Demographic overlays, also available in EnviroAtlas, permit analyses of disproportionate distribution across population groups.Metric validation is an important component of this research. Regression analyses have explored the power of selected EnviroAtlas urban environmental metrics to explain observed variability in measures of children’s health in featured communities. Observed effects to date have been statistically significant, but small. These findings suggest the potential for meaningful ecosystem services benefits to health and well-being at the population level, and cumulatively across multiple benefit types. Statistical models have also been used to predict aspects of neighborhood green space using socioeconomic characteristics of the local population. Ongoing research is expanding across multiple communities to increase sample size, environmental and population heterogeneity, and generalizability of results. This abstract has been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, it does not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Agency.

URLs/Downloads:

ACES_ABSTRACT_JACKSON.DOCX

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 12/09/2016
Record Last Revised: 12/20/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 334200

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH DIVISION

EPIDEMIOLOGY BRANCH