Built and social indices for hazards in Children's environments

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Department of Social Sciences


Leveraging the capabilities of the Historical Spatial Data Infrastructure (HSDI) and composite indices we explore the importance of children's built and social environments on health. We apply contemporary GIS methods to a set of 2000 historical school records contextualized within an existing HSDI to establish seven variables measuring the relative quality of each child's built and social environments. We then combined these variables to create a composite index that assesses acute (short-term) health risks generated by their environments. Our results show that higher acute index values significantly correlated with higher presence of disease in the home. Further, higher income significantly correlated with lower acute index values, indicating that the relative quality of children's environments in our study area were constrained by familial wealth. This work demonstrates the importance of analyzing multiple activity spaces when assessing built and social environments, as well as the importance of spatial microdata.

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Health & place