Predicting Environmental and Social Impacts for Smart Sustainable Cities |September 18 | 2018

9am- 10am pacific | 12 noon – 1 pm eastern

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Cities contain over half the world’s population, consume two-thirds of global energy, and are highly vulnerable to climate change. Advances in information technology enabling more intelligent and responsive urban infrastructure has the potential to improve city operations and manage demand.

Historically, planning and investment for urban infrastructure has been done sector-by-sector, but infrastructure is becoming more interdependent due to rising cross-sector demands, climate change policy and increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Cities will increasingly depend on ICT for capacity provision (pervasive sensor networks enabling autonomous control) and delivery of services (on-demand transport).

However, the long-term sustainability implications for smart infrastructure provision and investment are not well understood. Fundamental questions remain including: How can we avoid lock-in to environmentally damaging infrastructure? To what extent can we predict future health and social impacts, and manage risk across urban sectors? This talk will explore long-term critical interdependency between sectors (buildings, power, transport, ICT) and discuss the use of ubiquitous urban data, and predictive modelling and simulation to inform sustainable urban policy and planning.

Dr. Martino Tran is Director of the Urban Predictive Analytics Lab, Co-Director of the Master of   Engineering Leadership in Urban Systems, and Assistant Professor in the School of   Community and Regional Planning at UBC. He is also a Visiting Research Associate   at  the Environmental Change Institute and a former Oxford Martin Fellow in   Complexity, Resilience and Risk at the University of Oxford.

Dr. Tran’s research focuses on predictive modelling and simulation of urban   infrastructure and technology to inform policy and investment strategies with positive societal and sustainability outcomes. He has led both technical and policy research for government, academia and industry on the large-scale deployment of smart energy and transport technologies. He has advised UNEP, UNDP, Hitachi Europe’s Smart Cities Program, City Councils, and collaborates with the UK Energy Research Centre that informs national energy and climate policy. Dr. Tran also has lectured at UBC and Oxford on Sustainable Energy, Climate Change and Smart Cities and is a peer reviewer for Science and Nature.
 


July 23 | 2018

Evaluation of daily time spent in transportation and traffic-influenced microenvironments by urban Canadians. 

Matz CJ, Stieb DM, Egyed M, Brion O, Johnson M. 

Air Qual Atmos Health. 2018;11(2):209-220. DOI:10.1007/s11869-017-0532-6

Abstract

Exposure to traffic and traffic-related air pollution is associated with a wide array of health effects. Time spent in a vehicle, in active transportation, along roadsides, and in close proximity to traffic can substantially contribute to daily exposure to air pollutants. For this study, we evaluated daily time spent in transportation and traffic-influenced microenvironments by urban Canadians using the Canadian Human Activity Pattern Survey (CHAPS) 2 results. Approximately 4-7% of daily time was spent in on- or near-road locations, mainly associated with being in a vehicle and smaller contributions from active transportation. Indoor microenvironments can be impacted by traffic emissions, especially when located near major roadways. Over 60% of the target population reported living within one block of a roadway with moderate to heavy traffic, which was variable with income level and city, and confirmed based on elevated NO2 exposure estimated using land use regression. Furthermore, over 55% of the target population ≤ 18 years reported attending a school or daycare in close proximity to moderate to heavy traffic, and little variation was observed based on income or city. The results underline the importance of traffic emissions as a major source of exposure in Canadian urban centers, given the time spent in traffic-influenced microenvironments.

July 16 | 2018

Environmental Determinants of Insufficient Sleep and Sleep Disorders: Implications for Population Health.

Johnson DA, Billings ME, Hale L.

Curr Epidemiol Rep. 2018 Jun;5(2):61-69. DOI:10.1007/s40471-018-0139-y .

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Sleep is important for overall health and well-being. Insufficient sleep and sleep disorders are highly prevalent among adults and children and therefore a public health burden, particularly because poor sleep is associated with adverse health outcomes. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that environmental factors at the household- and neighborhood-level can alter healthy sleep. This paper will (1) review recent literature on the environmental determinants of sleep among adults as well as children and adolescents; and (2) discuss the opportunities and challenges for advancing research on the environment and sleep.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Epidemiologic research has shown that social features of environments, family, social cohesion, safety, noise, and neighborhood disorder can shape and/or impact sleep patterns; and physical features such as light, noise, traffic, pollution, and walkability can also influence sleep and is related to sleep disorders among adults and children. Prior research has mainly measured one aspect of the environment, relied on self-reported sleep, which does not correlate well with objective measures, and investigated cross-sectional associations. Although most studies are conducted among non-Hispanic white populations, there is growing evidence that indicates that minority populations are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the environment on insufficient sleep and sleep disorders.

SUMMARY:

There is clear evidence that environmental factors are associated with insufficient sleep and sleep disorders. However, more research is warranted to evaluate how and which environmental factors contribute to sleep health. Interventions that target changes in the environment to promote healthy sleep should be developed, tested, and evaluated as a possible pathway for ameliorating sleep health disparities and subsequently health disparities.

July 9 | 2018

Long-term exposure to air pollution and the incidence of multiple sclerosis: A population-based cohort study.

Bai L, Burnett RT, Kwong JC, Hystad P, van Donkelaar A, Brook JR, Tu K, Copes R, Goldberg MS, Martin RV, Murray BJ, Kopp A, Chen H.

Environ Res. 2018 Jun 22;166:437-443.  [Epub ahead of print] DOI:10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.003

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Evidence of the adverse neurological effects of exposure to ambient air pollution is emerging, but little is known about its effect on the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common autoimmune disease of the central nervous system.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the associations between MS incidence and long-term exposures to fine particles (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) METHODS: We conducted a population-based cohort study to investigate the associations between long-term exposures to PM2.5, NO2, and O3 and the incidence of MS. Our study population included all Canadian-born residents aged 20-40 years who lived in the province of Ontario, Canada from 2001 to 2013. Incident MS was ascertained from a validated registry. We assigned estimates of annual concentrations of these pollutants to the residential postal codes of subjects for each year during the 13 years of follow-up. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each pollutant separately using random-effects Cox proportional hazards models. We conducted various sensitivity analyses, such as lagging exposure up to 5 years and adjusting for access to neurological care, annual average temperature, and population density.

RESULTS:

Between 2001 and 2013, we identified 6203 incident cases of MS. The adjusted HR of incident MS was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.86-1.07) for PM2.5, 0.91(95% CI: 0.81-1.02) for NO2, and 1.09 (95% CI: 0.98-1.23) for O3. These results were robust to various sensitivity analyses conducted.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this large population-based cohort, we did not observe significant associations between MS incidence and long-term exposures to PM2.5, NO2, and O3 in adults in Ontario, 2001-2013.

Using Sensors to Assess Environmental Exposures | May 15 | 2018

CANUE member Dr. Michael Jerrett presents at the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine – Geographical Sciences Committee Meeting, May 2018. Hear Dr. Jerrett’s thoughts on how we deal with individual movements through time and space, what that means for environmental exposures, and how we capture data to characterize exposures for health studies.

International Society of Exposure Science | International Society of Environmental Epidemiology Conference | August 26 – 30 | 2018 | Ottawa

CANUE Members are heading to Ottawa in August 2018!

Keep in the loop via the Newsletter.

June 25 | 2018

The Association of Long-Term Exposure to Particulate Matter Air Pollution with Brain MRI Findings: The ARIC Study

Melinda C. Power, Archana P. Lamichhane, Duanping Liao, Xiaohui Xu, Clifford R. Jack Jr., Rebecca F. Gottesman, Thomas Mosley, James D. Stewart, Jeff D. Yanosky, and Eric A. Whitsel

Environ Health Perspect; February 2018 Vol 126 Issue 2. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP2152

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Increasing evidence links higher particulate matter (PM) air pollution exposure to late-life cognitive impairment. However, few studies have considered associations between direct estimates of long-term past exposures and brain MRI findings indicative of neurodegeneration or cerebrovascular disease.

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to quantify the association between brain MRI findings and PM exposures approximately 5 to 20 y prior to MRI in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

METHODS: ARIC is based in four U.S. sites: Washington County, Maryland; Minneapolis suburbs, Minnesota; Forsyth County, North Carolina; and Jackson, Mississippi. A subset of ARIC participants underwent 3T brain MRI in 2011–2013 (n=1,753). We estimated mean exposures to PM with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 or 2.5μm (PM10 and PM2.5) in 1990–1998, 1999–2007, and 1990–2007 at the residential addresses of eligible participants with MRI data. We estimated site-specific associations between PM and brain MRI findings and used random-effect, inverse variance–weighted meta-analysis to combine them.

RESULTS: In pooled analyses, higher mean PM2.5 and PM10 exposure in all time periods were associated with smaller deep-gray brain volumes, but not other MRI markers. Higher PM2.5 exposures were consistently associated with smaller total and regional brain volumes in Minnesota, but not elsewhere.

CONCLUSIONS: Long-term past PM exposure in was not associated with markers of cerebrovascular disease. Higher long-term past PM exposures were associated with smaller deep-gray volumes overall, and higher PM2.5 exposures were associated with smaller brain volumes in the Minnesota site. Further work is needed to understand the sources of heterogeneity across sites.

Assessing Interest | Special Issue HPCDP on Climate Change and Health | LOI June 29 2018

[Announcement sent on behalf of Margaret de Groh, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, HPCDP Journal]

Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, Research Policy and Practice

Assessing Interest in a Special Issue on Climate Change and Health

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Journal Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada is exploring the possibility of publishing a special issue on climate change and health next April, 2019, to coincide with Earth Day.  In order to determine if this is a viable topic for the journal, we are conducting a targeted call out for “letters of intent” to specific groups within and outside the federal government.  We see this as an important opportunity to profile the work of scientists in other government departments and demonstrate the important interconnections and impacts of other sectors on health.  We also welcome submissions from scientists external to government (please feel free to share this call out with colleagues).

The timelines for this initiative would be tight and, therefore, would likely involve work already in progress or completed.  We publish both peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed manuscripts.  Since we see this as an opportunity to showcase  interdisciplinary research not generally seen in our Journal, we would entertain short non-peer reviewed pieces (called “at-a-glance” analyses) summarizing work that may otherwise be published in academic journals outside of health.

Deadlines:

Receipt of Letters of Intent (title and brief description of potential submission):  by June 29, 2018

Decision on special issue will be made by July 6, 2018 (all authors will be contacted on our decision)

Submission of Articles (if there is a special issue):  October 1, 2018

For more information on Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, please visit our website:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/reports-publications/health-promotion-chronic-disease-prevention-canada-research-policy-practice/information-authors.html

Final consideration:  when we publish special issues, we try to engage a guest editor – someone who knows the area and can help to identify appropriate reviewers.  This is an important role and guest editors are invited to write a commentary (not essential).  If you would be interested in this type of contribution, please contact me, Margaret de Groh, Acting/Editor-in-Chief of the HPCDP Journal.

Thank you!

Margaret

Margaret de Groh, Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief, HPCDP Journal

Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research

Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention Branch

Public Health Agency of Canada | Government of Canada

margaret.degroh@canada.ca Tel: 613-960-0076 | Cell: 613-614-2045 | Fax: 613-960-0921

Rédactrice en chef, la revue PSPMC

Centre de surveillance et de recherche appliquée

Direction générale de la promotion de la santé et de la prévention des maladies chroniques

Agence de la santé publique du Canada | Gouvernement du Canada

June 11 | 2018

Do green neighbourhoods promote urban health justice?

Isabelle Anguelovski, Helen Cole, James Connolly, Margarita Triguero-Mas

The Lancet, Public Health. Vol 3, No. 6, e270 June 2018

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30096-3

For the past 30 years, a search for social and health justice has shaped many cities in North America and Europe. Residents of these cities have mobilised to address the effects of neighbourhood disinvestment, pollution, harmful land uses, and low-quality green spaces on health. In cities such as Leipzig or Barcelona, these movements have transformed neighbourhoods. However, while green amenities are important selling points for attracting high-income populations, the resulting increased property values shape a new conundrum, embodied in the exclusion and displacement associated with so-called green gentrification

June 4 | 2018

Healthy cities: key to a healthy future in China

William Summerskill, Helena Hui Wang, Richard Horton

The Lancet, Vol 391, No. 10135, p2086–2087, 26 May 2018 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30608-1

Summary

By 2030, up to one in eight people will live in a city in China. As urbanisation accelerates around the world, and particularly in Asia, the pivotal role of cities to influence the health of their inhabitants has never been greater. Hence, the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 is to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.