August 21 | 2017

Residential greenness and birth outcomes: evaluating the influence of spatially correlated built-environment factors.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Half the world’s population lives in urban areas. It is therefore important to identify characteristics of the built environment that are beneficial to human health. Urban greenness has been associated with improvements in a diverse range of health conditions, including birth outcomes; however, few studies have attempted to distinguish potential effects of greenness from those of other spatially correlated exposures related to the built environment.

OBJECTIVES:

We aimed to investigate associations between residential greenness and birth outcomes and evaluate the influence of spatially correlated built environment factors on these associations.

METHODS:

We examined associations between residential greenness [measured using satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) within 100 m of study participants’ homes] and birth outcomes in a cohort of 64,705 singleton births (from 1999-2002) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We also evaluated associations after adjusting for spatially correlated built environmental factors that may influence birth outcomes, including exposure to air pollution and noise, neighborhood walkability, and distance to the nearest park.

RESULTS:

An interquartile increase in greenness (0.1 in residential NDVI) was associated with higher term birth weight (20.6 g; 95% CI: 16.5, 24.7) and decreases in the likelihood of small for gestational age, very preterm (< 30 weeks), and moderately preterm (30-36 weeks) birth. Associations were robust to adjustment for air pollution and noise exposures, neighborhood walkability, and park proximity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increased residential greenness was associated with beneficial birth outcomes in this population-based cohort. These associations did not change after adjusting for other spatially correlated built environment factors, suggesting that alternative pathways (e.g., psychosocial and psychological mechanisms) may underlie associations between residential greenness and birth outcomes.

Hystad P1, Davies HW, Frank L, Van Loon J, Gehring U, Tamburic L, Brauer M. 

Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Oct;122(10):1095-102.

doi: 10.1289/ehp.1308049   Epub 2014 Jul 11.

August 14 | 2017

Within- and between-city contrasts in nitrogen dioxide and mortality in 10 Canadian cities; a subset of the Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (CanCHEC).

Abstract:

The independent and joint effects of within- and between-city contrasts in air pollution on mortality have been investigated rarely. To examine the differential effects of between- versus within-city contrasts in pollution exposure, we used both ambient measurements and land use regression models to assess associations with mortality and exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) among ~735,600 adults in 10 of the largest Canadian cities. We estimated exposure contrasts partitioned into within- and between-city contrasts, and the sum of these as overall exposures, for every year from 1984 to 2006. Residential histories allowed us to follow subjects annually during the study period. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for many personal and contextual variables. In fully-adjusted, random-effects models, we found positive associations between overall NO2 exposures and mortality from non-accidental causes (HR per 5 p.p.b.: 1.05; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-1.07), cardiovascular disease (HR per 5 p.p.b.: 1.04; 95% CI: 1.01-1.06), ischaemic heart disease (HR per 5 p.p.b.: 1.05; 95% CI: 1.02-1.08) and respiratory disease (HR per 5 p.p.b.: 1.04; 95% CI: 0.99-1.08), but not from cerebrovascular disease (HR per 5 p.p.b.: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.96-1.06). We found that most of these associations were determined by within-city contrasts, as opposed to by between-city contrasts in NO2. Our results suggest that variation in NO2 concentrations within a city may represent a more toxic mixture of pollution than variation between cities.

Crouse DL1, Peters PA2, Villeneuve PJ3, Proux MO4, Shin HH1, Goldberg MS5, Johnson M6, Wheeler AJ6, Allen RW7, Atari DO8, Jerrett M9, Brauer M10, Brook JR11, Cakmak S1, Burnett RT1

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2015 Sep-Oct;25(5):482-9. Epub 2015 Jan 21.

 

doi: 10.1038/jes.2014.89

August 7 | 2017

Spatial Transferability of a Microresidential Mobility Model in the Integrated Land Use, Transportation, and Environment Modeling System

Abstract

This paper presents the spatial transferability analysis of a microbehavioral model from the residential mobility component of the integrated land use, transportation, and environment (ILUTE) modeling system developed and implemented in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ontario, Canada. The study examined whether ILUTE could be spatially transferred with the current model components to a different geographic area: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The residential mobility component within ILUTE is a continuous-time, hazard-based duration model, developed with retrospective survey data from the Residential Mobility Survey 2 in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. This study developed a similar continuous-time, hazard-based duration model for the residential mobility decisions of households in Halifax on the basis of retrospective survey data from a household mobility and travel survey. The model results suggested that households in Halifax and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area exhibited profound differences in residential mobility decisions. Sociodemographic, dwelling, and neighborhood characteristics significantly affected residential mobility decisions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The effects of land use and accessibility measures were noteworthy for Halifax. For instance, home-to-work distances in Halifax affected the decision to move; however, such an effect could not be confirmed in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Households’ first periods of residence after household formation in a residential location were shorter in Halifax than in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. It was concluded that the direct transfer of micromodels from one spatial context to another could be difficult.

Fatmi, M.R. and Habib, M.A. (2015)

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board No. 2496, pp. 29-36

https://doi.org/10.3141/2494-04

July 31 | 2017

Statistical modeling of the spatial variability of environmental noise levels in Montreal, Canada, using noise measurements and land use characteristics.

ABSTRACT: The availability of noise maps to assess exposure to noise is often limited, especially in North American cities. We developed land use regression (LUR) models for LAeq24h, Lnight, and Lden to assess the long-term spatial variability of environmental noise levels in Montreal, Canada, considering various transportation noise sources (road, rail, and air). To explore the effects of sampling duration, we compared our LAeq24h levels that were computed over at least five complete contiguous days of measurements to shorter sampling periods (20 min and 24 h). LUR models were built with General Additive Models using continuous 2-min noise measurements from 204 sites. Model performance (adjusted R2) was 0.68, 0.59, and 0.69 for LAeq24h, Lnight, and Lden, respectively. Main predictors of measured noise levels were road-traffic and vegetation variables. Twenty-minute non-rush hour measurements corresponded well with LAeq24h levels computed over 5 days at road-traffic sites (bias: -0.7 dB(A)), but not at rail (-2.1 dB(A)) nor at air (-2.2 dB(A)) sites. Our study provides important insights into the spatial variation of environmental noise levels in a Canadian city. To assess long-term noise levels, sampling strategies should be stratified by noise sources and preferably should include 1 week of measurements at locations exposed to rail and aircraft noise.

Martina S RagettliSophie GoudreauCéline PlanteMichel FournierMarianne HatzopoulouStéphane Perron and Audrey Smargiassi

Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2016 Nov;26(6):597-605. doi: 10.1038/jes.2015.82. Epub 2016 Jan 6

 

10.1038/jes.2015.82

July 24 | 2017

Regional Climate Projections of Extreme Heat Events in Nine Pilot Canadian Communities for Public Health Planning 

ABSTRACT: Public health planning needs the support of evidence-based information on current and future climate, which could be used by health professionals and decision makers to better understand and respond to the health impacts of extreme heat. Climate models provide information regarding the expected increase in temperatures and extreme heat events with climate change and can help predict the severity of future health impacts, which can be used in the public health sector for the development of adaptation strategies to reduce heat-related morbidity and mortality. This study analyzes the evolution of extreme temperature indices specifically defined to characterize heat events associated with health risks, in the context of a changing climate. The analysis is performed by using temperature projections from the Canadian Regional Climate Model.

https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-12-0341.1

Casati, B., Yagouti, A., Chaumont, D. (2013), Regional Climate Projections of Extreme Heat Events in Nine Pilot Canadian Communities for Public Health Planning, JAMC, vol. 52, 2669:2698

July 17 | 2017

Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality. 

Using data captured from smartphones, researchers have amassed a dataset consisting of 68 million days of physical activity for 717,527 people to study activity across the globe.

As described in the abstract: “Aspects of the built environment, such as the walkability of a city, are associated with a smaller gender gap in activity and lower activity inequality. In more walkable cities, activity is greater throughout the day and throughout the week, across age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) groups, with the greatest increases in activity found for females. Our findings have implications for global public health policy and urban planning and highlight the role of activity inequality and the built environment in improving physical activity and health.”

https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature23018.html

doi:10.1038/nature23018

 

Tim AlthoffRok SosičJennifer L. HicksAbby C. KingScott L. Delp & Jure Leskovec., 2017.  Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality. Nature, Published online 10 July 2017.

July 10 | 2017

Exploring pathways linking greenspace to health: Theoretical and methodological guidance.

During an Expert Workshop held in September 2016, the evidence linking greenspace and health was reviewed from a transdisciplinary standpoint, with a particular focus on potential underlying biopsychosocial pathways and how these can be explored and organized to support policy-relevant population health research.

This Report provides guidance for further epidemiological research with the goal of creating new evidence upon which to develop policy recommendations.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.028

Markevych, I., Schoierer, J., Hartig, T., Chudnovsky, A., Hystad, P., Dzhambov, A.M., de Vries, S., Triguero-Mas, M., Brauer, M., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. and Lupp, G., 2017. Exploring pathways linking greenspace to health: Theoretical and methodological guidance. Environmental Research, 158, pp.301-317.

July 3 | 2017

For your reading enjoyment! Watch for our new “Paper of the Week” posts. We will be highlighting papers authored by CANUE members as well as new articles of interest. If you would like to have your own paper featured, or suggest a paper that you find especially interesting, please send us a note at info@canue.ca.

Our inaugural selection is The Lancet’s series on Urban design, transport and health. Check out the three commentaries and the three papers that make up the series, and illustrate the importance and timeliness of CANUE and the memberships’ efforts to advance research on urban form and health.

Urban design: an important future force for health and wellbeing
Sabine Kleinert, Richard Horton

Healthier neighbourhoods through healthier parks
Bill de Blasio

Urban design and transport to promote healthy lives
Shifalika Goenka, Lars Bo Andersen

City planning and population health: a global challenge
Billie Giles-Corti, Anne Vernez-Moudon, Rodrigo Reis, Gavin Turrell, Andrew L Dannenberg, Hannah Badland, Sarah Foster, Melanie Lowe, James F Sallis, Mark Stevenson, Neville Owen

Land use, transport, and population health: estimating the health benefits of compact cities
Mark Stevenson, Jason Thompson, Thiago Hérick de Sá, Reid Ewing, Dinesh Mohan, Rod McClure, Ian Roberts, Geetam Tiwari, Billie Giles-Corti, Xiaoduan Sun, Mark Wallace, James Woodcock

Use of science to guide city planning policy and practice: how to achieve healthy and sustainable future cities
James F Sallis, Fiona Bull, Ricky Burdett, Lawrence D Frank, Peter Griffiths, Billie Giles-Corti, Mark Stevenson

GREENNESS TEAM MEETING | June 2017

ON June 20th, members of CANUE’s Greenness Team met by conference call to provide an update on current work and discuss a range of technical issues related to measuring greenness.

CANUE provided an overview – Presentation slides are available here: CANUE Green Metrics June 2017. Meeting notes are available here: CANUE Green Metrics Meeting Notes.

WEATHER AND CLIMATE UPDATE | May 2017

CANUE’s Weather and Climate team met on May 8th | 2017 to review their research program and upcoming activities. Meeting slides are available here (CANUE Weather and Climate Meeting May 8 2017) and include:

  • a brief overview of climate, weather and health linkages (Dr. Tim Takaro)
  • a description of the PAVICS platform (pavics2016_eng) currently under development by OURANOS which aims to improve access to weather and climate data in Canada(Diane Chaumont and Blaise Gauvin St-Denis)
  • a discussion of types of metrics that may be of interest and proposed next steps (Dr. Johan Feddema)

The near-term goal of the Weather and Climate team is to develop methods for producing weather and climate metrics using NRCAN’s 10km gridded dataset that may be relevant to human health, such as:

Base data

  • daily temperature – minimum, maximum, average, range
  • daily precipitation – total millimeters

Derived data

  • weekly, monthly and annual summary metrics
  • ‘health’ degree days – number of days above or below identified thresholds of high or low temperatures
  • potential and actual evapotranspiration – indicates wetness or dryness and may indicate flood potential

The 10km downscaled dataset from BC’s Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) was evaluated as well, however, modelled data after 2005 are not adjusted with observed levels and so may reflect model assumptions more than actual conditions.

Mahdi Shooshtari, CANUE’s Data Scientist, will be working with Diane Chaumont (Team Co-leader) and Blaise Gauvin St-Denis at OURANOS in early June to develop methods for producing indicators from the data holdings in PAVICS.

Visit the CANUE feedback page or Message Board to add your thoughts and advice!