Re-engaging with the physical environment: a health-related environmental classification of the UK

Niamh K. Shortt, Elizabeth A. Richardson, Richard Mitchell, Jamie Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents a health-related area-level multiple environmental classification of the UK and examines ecological associations with health. This classification, akin to a geodemographic profile of the environment, classifies small areas across the UK into seven environment types ranging from 'Industrial' to 'Sunny, clean and green'. The data for the classification were gathered from a range of agencies, rendered to Census Area Statistic Wards (n = 10 654) and processed through a two-stage clustering technique to create a Multiple Environmental Deprivation Classification, or MEDClass. In order to explore the utility of MEDClass, this paper presents an empirical investigation into the extent to which the type of physical environment one lives in can influence self-reported health and mortality rates. The findings suggest that while physical environment 'type' makes a modest contribution towards our understanding of health inequalities, socio-economic deprivation remains the most important challenge for those seeking to address these inequalities. In conclusion we suggest that human geographers should embrace a broader conceptualisation of the environment and in particular, re-engage with traditional aspects of the physical environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
JournalArea
Volume43
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jul 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011

Keywords

  • UK
  • health inequalities
  • environmental profile
  • environmental deprivation
  • geodemographics
  • physical environment
  • AIR-POLLUTION
  • MORTALITY
  • GEOGRAPHY
  • ENGLAND
  • ASSOCIATION
  • INEQUALITIES
  • LANDSCAPES
  • BEHAVIORS
  • EXPOSURE
  • HAMILTON

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