Mobility-based environmental justice: Understanding housing disparity in real-time exposure to air pollution and momentary psychological stress in Beijing, China

Yinhua Tao, Yanwei Chai, Xue Zhang*, Jie Yang, Mei Po Kwan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Environmental justice is a crucial environmental and social problem. Previous research in the cities of developed countries has found that ethnic minorities and low-income people were disproportionately exposed to the residential environment with more serious environmental risks. This study proposed a transition from the residence-based perspective to a mobility-based and context-aware approach to reinterpret environmental justice with a focus on the air pollution issue in urban China. A novel research protocol combining geographic ecological momentary assessment and portable air pollutant sensors was developed to collect and analyze real-time data of air pollution exposure and psychological stress for residents living in the same residential neighborhood of Beijing, China. The results show that residents of different types of housing were exposed to varying PM2.5 concentrations although they experienced similar levels of air pollution in their residential neighborhoods. Residents of public low-rent housing were the disadvantaged group because of their limited mobility, exposure to serious air pollution at home, and insensitive stress responses to air pollution. These findings not only uncover the mobility-based environmental justice issue in the context of government-led and egalitarianism-pursuing urban China, but also provide references for the residential mix policy on how to narrow the disparity in environmental pollution exposure from the perspective of human mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114372
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume287
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • China
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Environmental justice
  • Health
  • Housing

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