A Greening but Unequal City

Environmental Exposure Disparities, Gentrified Inequities, and Public Health in Seattle, Washington

Authored by: Jonah White , Troy Abel

Handbook of Global Urban Health

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138206250
eBook ISBN: 9781315465456
Adobe ISBN:


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Researchers have spent considerable time over the past several decades exploring the relationships between pollution exposure and health outcomes in a variety of urban settings. While this body of work shows that racial/ethnic composition is a strong determinant of negative health outcomes related to pollution exposure, little attention is given to the role of gentrification in shaping health inequalities. This chapter investigates the development of health inequalities resulting from the convergence of gentrification processes and a shifting pollution riskscape in Seattle, Washington. We combine factor analysis and cluster analysis with longitudinal air toxic emission comparisons to analyze socioeconomic changes in Seattle census tracts between 1990 and 2010 coupled with measures of pollution volume and relative potential risk. Our findings suggest that gentrification processes increase pollution exposure risk and contribute toward producing health inequalities across populations.

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