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      Mapping Environmental Inequalities Relevant for Health for Informing Urban Planning Interventions—A Case Study in the City of Dortmund, Germany

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          Abstract

          Spatial differences in urban environmental conditions contribute to health inequalities within cities. The purpose of the paper is to map environmental inequalities relevant for health in the City of Dortmund, Germany, in order to identify needs for planning interventions. We develop suitable indicators for mapping socioeconomically-driven environmental inequalities at the neighborhood level based on published scientific evidence and inputs from local stakeholders. Relationships between socioeconomic and environmental indicators at the level of 170 neighborhoods were analyzed continuously with Spearman rank correlation coefficients and categorically applying chi-squared tests. Reclassified socioeconomic and environmental indicators were then mapped at the neighborhood level in order to determine multiple environmental burdens and hotspots of environmental inequalities related to health. Results show that the majority of environmental indicators correlate significantly, leading to multiple environmental burdens in specific neighborhoods. Some of these neighborhoods also have significantly larger proportions of inhabitants of a lower socioeconomic position indicating hotspots of environmental inequalities. Suitable planning interventions mainly comprise transport planning and green space management. In the conclusions, we discuss how the analysis can be used to improve state of the art planning instruments, such as clean air action planning or noise reduction planning towards the consideration of the vulnerability of the population.

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          Neighborhoods and health.

          Features of neighborhoods or residential environments may affect health and contribute to social and race/ethnic inequalities in health. The study of neighborhood health effects has grown exponentially over the past 15 years. This chapter summarizes key work in this area with a particular focus on chronic disease outcomes (specifically obesity and related risk factors) and mental health (specifically depression and depressive symptoms). Empirical work is classified into two main eras: studies that use census proxies and studies that directly measure neighborhood attributes using a variety of approaches. Key conceptual and methodological challenges in studying neighborhood health effects are reviewed. Existing gaps in knowledge and promising new directions in the field are highlighted.
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            Place effects on health: how can we conceptualise, operationalise and measure them?

            In this paper we highlight what we consider to be a lack of adequate conceptualisation. operationalisation and measurement of "place effects". We briefly review recent historical trends in the study of the effects of place on health in industrial countries, and argue that "place effects" often appear to have the status of a residual category, an unspecified black box of somewhat mystical influences on health which remain after investigators have controlled for a range of individual and place characteristics. We note that the distinction between "composition" and "context" may be more apparent than real, and that features of both material infrastructure and collective social functioning may influence health. We suggest using a framework of universal human needs as a basis for thinking about how places may influence health, and recommend the testing of hypotheses about specific chains of causation that might link place of residence with health outcomes.
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              Neighborhood environment and physical activity among youth a review.

              Research examining the association between environmental attributes and physical activity among youth is growing. An updated review of literature is needed to summarize the current evidence base, and to inform policies and environmental interventions to promote active lifestyles among young people. A literature search was conducted using the Active Living Research (ALR) literature database, an online database that codes study characteristics and results of published papers on built/social environment and physical activity/obesity/sedentary behavior. Papers in the ALR database were identified through PubMed, Web of Science, and SPORTDiscus using systematically developed and expert-validated search protocols. For the current review, additional inclusion criteria were used to select observational, quantitative studies among youth aged 3-18 years. Papers were categorized by design features, sample characteristics, and measurement mode. Relevant results were summarized, stratified by age (children or adolescents) and mode of measurement (objective or perceived) for environmental attributes and physical activity. Percentage of significant results was calculated. Mode of measurement greatly influenced the consistency of associations between environmental attributes and youth physical activity. For both children and adolescents, the most consistent associations involved objectively measured environmental attributes and reported physical activity. The most supported correlates for children were walkability, traffic speed/volume, access/proximity to recreation facilities, land-use mix, and residential density. The most supported correlates for adolescents were land-use mix and residential density. These findings support several recommendations for policy and environmental change from such groups as the IOM and National Physical Activity Plan. Copyright © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, P.O. Box 6, Enschede 7500 AE, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Department of Social Epidemiology, Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research, University of Bremen, Grazer Str. 4, Bremen 28359, Germany; steffen.schuele@ 123456uni-bremen.de (S.A.S.); gabriele.bolte@ 123456uni-bremen.de (G.B.)
                [3 ]Department of Community Health, Hochschule für Gesundheit, Gesundheitscampus 6–8, Bochum 44801, Germany; heike.koeckler@ 123456hs-gesundheit.de
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: j.flacke@ 123456utwente.nl ; Tel.: +31-53-4874-381
                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                13 July 2016
                July 2016
                : 13
                : 7
                27420090 4962252 10.3390/ijerph13070711 ijerph-13-00711
                © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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