The increasing severity of air pollution in Chinese cities has become a global concern. In particular, Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) pollution has received significant scholarly and government attention due to the tremendous health effects it induces, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases (Pope and Dockery, 2006). Pollution exacerbates social inequality as it tends to cause greater sufferings amongst the poor, in turn accelerating environmental degradation (Cushing et.al, 2015). Meanwhile, in modern Chinese society, urban and economic development is no longer the primary and sole ideal, people’s well-being and social equality are considered equally crucial in sustaining the country’s development (Xi, 2017). This inevitably necessitates further efforts in combating air pollution and its resultant health inequality, but research on these issues is still in its infancy in China.
The overarching aim of this research is to enhance the understanding of the complex interaction of socioeconomic position, air pollution and health impacts by 1) integrating individual mobility into the air pollution exposure assessment; 2) examining the association between socioeconomic position and air pollution exposure, i.e. differential exposure; and 3) identifying the modification effects of socioeconomic position on exposure-response relationship, i.e., differential susceptibility. Beijing would be selected as the city for case study on examinations of exposure assessment and exposure inequality. For the susceptibility study, 34 valid cancer registration areas in China, extracted from the Chinese cancer registry annual report in 2009-2016, would be selected as research area.
Theoretically, it is expected that this research would contribute to environmental-health inequality research by 1) providing new, representative and empirical evidence on the association between socioeconomic characteristics and air pollution exposure in a non-western context to advance research in the field; 2) examining the differential susceptibility pathway of health inequality from a geographical point of view which previous studies have ignored; and 3) highlighting the importance of the uncertain geographic context problem in air pollution exposure assessment. In practice, this research would contribute to urban planning and policymaking by 1) discussing the potential of alternative urban structure in alleviating environmental inequality for Chinese cities from a planning perspective; and 2) identifying directions for developing environmental and social policies that are tailored for different population groups and locations.
About the Speaker:
Mr. Huagui Guo is now a second-year PhD student in the Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong. Before joining HKU, he received his Master degree of Urban Planning from Wuhan University. Huagui has also studied at Fujian University of Technology in China where he got his Bachelor degree of Urban Planning. Huagui’s primarily research interests focus on sustainable urban environment (built environment, air, and temperature), health effects, and social inequality.
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