Studies have shown that natural environments can enhance health and here we build upon that work by examining the associations between comprehensive greenspace metrics and health. We focused on a large urban population center (Toronto, Canada) and related the two domains by combining high-resolution satellite imagery and individual tree data from Toronto with questionnaire-based self-reports of general health perception, cardio-metabolic conditions and mental illnesses from the Ontario Health Study. Results from multiple regressions and multivariate canonical correlation analyses suggest that people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions (controlling for socio-economic and demographic factors). We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger. We also find that having 11 more trees in a city block, on average, decreases cardio-metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.
While sanitation interventions have focused primarily on child health, women’s unique health risks from inadequate sanitation are gaining recognition as a priority issue. This study examines the range of sanitation-related psychosocial stressors during routine sanitation practices in Odisha, India. Between August 2013 and March 2014, we conducted in-depth interviews with 56 women in four life stages: adolescent, newly married, pregnant and established adult women in three settings: urban slums, rural villages and indigenous villages. Using a grounded theory approach, the study team transcribed, translated, coded and discussed interviews using detailed analytic memos to identify and characterize stressors at each life stage and study site. We found that sanitation practices encompassed more than defecation and urination and included carrying water, washing, bathing, menstrual management, and changing clothes. During the course of these activities, women encountered three broad types of stressors-environmental, social, and sexual-the intensity of which were modified by the woman’s life stage, living environment, and access to sanitation facilities. Environmental barriers, social factors and fears of sexual violence all contributed to sanitation-related psychosocial stress. Though women responded with small changes to sanitation practices, they were unable to significantly modify their circumstances, notably by achieving adequate privacy for sanitation-related behaviors. A better understanding of the range of causes of stress and adaptive behaviors is needed to inform context-specific, gender-sensitive sanitation interventions.
Recent organic diet intervention studies suggest that diet is a significant source of pesticide exposure in young children. These studies have focused on children living in suburban communities.
Sustainable development efforts in urban areas often focus on understanding and managing factors that influence all aspects of health and wellbeing. Research has shown that public parks and green space provide a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits to urban residents, but few studies have examined the influence of parks on comprehensive measures of subjective wellbeing at the city level. Using 2014 data from 44 U.S. cities, we evaluated the relationship between urban park quantity, quality, and accessibility and aggregate self-reported scores on the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index (WBI), which considers five different domains of wellbeing (e.g., physical, community, social, financial, and purpose). In addition to park-related variables, our best-fitting OLS regression models selected using an information theory approach controlled for a variety of other typical geographic and socio-demographic correlates of wellbeing. Park quantity (measured as the percentage of city area covered by public parks) was among the strongest predictors of overall wellbeing, and the strength of this relationship appeared to be driven by parks' contributions to physical and community wellbeing. Park quality (measured as per capita spending on parks) and accessibility (measured as the overall percentage of a city’s population within ½ mile of parks) were also positively associated with wellbeing, though these relationships were not significant. Results suggest that expansive park networks are linked to multiple aspects of health and wellbeing in cities and positively impact urban quality of life.
Exploiting a randomized natural experiment in India, we show that female leadership influences adolescent girls' career aspirations and educational attainment. A 1993 law reserved leadership positions for women in randomly selected village councils. Using 8453 surveys of adolescents aged 11 to 15 and their parents in 495 villages, we found that, relative to villages in which such positions were never reserved, the gender gap in aspirations closed by 20% in parents and 32% in adolescents in villages assigned a female leader for two election cycles. The gender gap in adolescent educational attainment was erased, and girls spent less time on household chores. We found no evidence of changes in young women’s labor market opportunities, which suggests that the impact of women leaders primarily reflects a role model effect.
Physiological and chemical response of the lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale, to the urban environment of Kolkata, India
- Environmental science and pollution research international
- Published about 7 years ago
The present study was focused on the effect of increasing urbanization including industrial and traffic activity on the accumulation of heavy metals and possible damage of selected physiological parameters (composition of assimilation pigments, membrane lipid peroxidation, and membrane integrity) of an epiphytic foliose lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale. The lichen samples were collected from three different localities in and around Kolkata, India, two sites being from the urban area and one from the relatively non-polluted sub-urban area. The results showed that thalli from the urban sites have significantly higher concentrations of Fe, Cr, Cu, Zn, and Pb compared to those collected from the sub-urban site. Physiological parameters of damage also exhibited stress symptoms in thalli from the urban sites-decreased chlorophyll a indicating less photosynthetic efficiency, and increase in lipid peroxidation and electrolyte conductivity indicating cell membrane injuries. Correlation studies among metals pinpointed vehicular traffic as the main source of pollution in this area.
The well-established negative health outcomes of sleep deprivation, and the suggestion that availability of electricity may enable later bed times without compensating sleep extension in the morning, have stimulated interest in studying communities whose sleep pattern may resemble a pre-industrial state. Here, we describe sleep and activity in two neighbouring communities, one urban (Milange) and one rural (Tengua), in a region of Mozambique where urbanisation is an ongoing process. The two communities differ in the amount and timing of daily activity and of light exposure, with later bedtimes (≈1 h) associated with more evening and less daytime light exposure seen in the town of Milange. In contrast to previous reports comparing communities with and without electricity, sleep duration did not differ between Milange (7.28 h) and Tengua (7.23 h). Notably, calculated sleep quality was significantly poorer in rural Tengua than in Milange, and poor sleep quality was associated with a number of attributes more characteristic of rural areas, including more intense physical labour and less comfortable sleeping arrangements. Thus, whilst our data support the hypothesis that access to electricity delays sleep timing, the higher sleep quality in the urban population also suggests that some aspects of industrialisation are beneficial to sleep.
Urbanization is a potential threat to mental health and well-being. Cross-sectional evidence suggests that living closer to urban green spaces, such as parks, is associated with lower mental distress. However, earlier research was unable to control for time-invariant heterogeneity (e.g., personality) and focused on indicators of poor psychological health. The current research advances the field by using panel data from over 10,000 individuals to explore the relation between urban green space and well-being (indexed by ratings of life satisfaction) and between urban green space and mental distress (indexed by General Health Questionnaire scores) for the same people over time. Controlling for individual and regional covariates, we found that, on average, individuals have both lower mental distress and higher well-being when living in urban areas with more green space. Although effects at the individual level were small, the potential cumulative benefit at the community level highlights the importance of policies to protect and promote urban green spaces for well-being.
Many US cities have experienced population reductions, often blamed on crime and interpersonal injury. Yet the overall injury risk in urban areas compared with suburban and rural areas has not been fully described. We begin to investigate this evidence gap by looking specifically at injury-related mortality risk, determining the risk of all injury death across the rural-urban continuum.
Urbanization is one of the major anthropogenic processes contributing to local habitat loss and extirpation of numerous species, including wild bees, the most widespread pollinators. Little is known about the mechanisms through which urbanization impacts wild bee communities, or the types of urban green spaces that best promote their conservation in cities. The main objective of this study was to describe and compare wild bee community diversity, structure, and dynamics in two Canadian cities, Montreal and Quebec City. A second objective was to compare functional trait diversity among three habitat types (cemeteries, community gardens and urban parks) within each city. Bees were collected using pan traps and netting on the same 46 sites, multiple times, over the active season in 2012 and 2013. A total of 32,237 specimens were identified, representing 200 species and 6 families, including two new continental records, Hylaeus communis Nylander (1852) and Anthidium florentinum (Fabricius, 1775). Despite high community evenness, we found significant abundance of diverse species, including exotic ones. Spatio-temporal analysis showed higher stability in the most urbanized city (Montreal) but low nestedness of species assemblages among the three urban habitats in both cities. Our study demonstrates that cities are home to diverse communities of wild bees, but in turn affect bee community structure and dynamics. We also found that community gardens harbour high levels of functional trait diversity. Urban agriculture therefore contributes substantially to the provision of functionally diverse bee communities and possibly to urban pollination services.