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Mapping the Racial Inequality in Place: Using Youth Perceptions to Identify Unequal Exposure to Neighborhood Environmental Hazards

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Black youth are more likely than white youth to grow up in poor, segregated neighborhoods. This racial inequality in the neighborhood environments of black youth increases their contact with hazardous neighborhood environmental features including violence and toxic exposures that contribute to racial inequality in youth health and well-being. While the concept of neighborhood effects has been studied at length by social scientists, this work has not been as frequently situated within an environmental justice (EJ) paradigm. The present study used youth perceptions gained from in-depth interviews with youth from one Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood to identify neighborhood environmental health hazards. We then mapped these youth-identified features to examine how they are spatially and racially distributed across the city. Our results suggest that the intersection of race and poverty, neighborhood disorder, housing abandonment, and crime were salient issues for youth. The maps show support for the youths’ assertions that the environments of black and white individuals across the city of Pittsburgh differ in noteworthy ways. This multi-lens, mixed-method analysis was designed to challenge some of the assumptions we make about addressing environmental inequality using youths’ own opinions on the issue to drive our inquiry.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of violent crime rate by percent black across Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
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ijerph-13-00844-f004: Map of violent crime rate by percent black across Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Mentions: This young man described how he and his friends fear riding their bikes because of the potential to be victimized. This has a variety of health implications, including the potential for serious injury if they are victimized as well as potential mental health issues related to fear and anxiety and the inability to safely exercise outdoors. They expressed worry for their safety and described feelings of helplessness related to unpredictable gun violence. In order to better illustrate the prevalence and concentration of violence in Pittsburgh, this bivariate choropleth map illustrates the relationship between the percent black population in Pittsburgh neighborhoods and the violent crime rate (see Figure 4).


Mapping the Racial Inequality in Place: Using Youth Perceptions to Identify Unequal Exposure to Neighborhood Environmental Hazards
Map of violent crime rate by percent black across Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5036677&req=5

ijerph-13-00844-f004: Map of violent crime rate by percent black across Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Mentions: This young man described how he and his friends fear riding their bikes because of the potential to be victimized. This has a variety of health implications, including the potential for serious injury if they are victimized as well as potential mental health issues related to fear and anxiety and the inability to safely exercise outdoors. They expressed worry for their safety and described feelings of helplessness related to unpredictable gun violence. In order to better illustrate the prevalence and concentration of violence in Pittsburgh, this bivariate choropleth map illustrates the relationship between the percent black population in Pittsburgh neighborhoods and the violent crime rate (see Figure 4).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Black youth are more likely than white youth to grow up in poor, segregated neighborhoods. This racial inequality in the neighborhood environments of black youth increases their contact with hazardous neighborhood environmental features including violence and toxic exposures that contribute to racial inequality in youth health and well-being. While the concept of neighborhood effects has been studied at length by social scientists, this work has not been as frequently situated within an environmental justice (EJ) paradigm. The present study used youth perceptions gained from in-depth interviews with youth from one Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood to identify neighborhood environmental health hazards. We then mapped these youth-identified features to examine how they are spatially and racially distributed across the city. Our results suggest that the intersection of race and poverty, neighborhood disorder, housing abandonment, and crime were salient issues for youth. The maps show support for the youths’ assertions that the environments of black and white individuals across the city of Pittsburgh differ in noteworthy ways. This multi-lens, mixed-method analysis was designed to challenge some of the assumptions we make about addressing environmental inequality using youths’ own opinions on the issue to drive our inquiry.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus