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Neighborhood Environmental Inequalities

In a recent study published in the Urban Studies Journal, WZB researcher Christian König sheds light on neighborhood environmental inequalities in German cities. Key findings are: Foreign minorities are exposed to less green space but more industrial air pollution around their residential neighborhoods. The study offers a detailed analysis of urban environmental inequalities, providing valuable insights for policymakers and urban planners striving for more equitable cities.

Neighborhood Disparities

Not all neighborhoods within urban settings have the same or even similar environmental quality. The study reveals large differences in residential environmental conditions across various areas, not only between cities but also within them. The analysis demonstrates that foreign minorities face heightened exposure to industrial air pollution and are less likely to live near green spaces. Contrary to the narrative that these neighborhood disadvantages are due to the lower income of foreign minorities, the findings by Christian König show that they can hardly be explained by economic factors, emphasizing the need for comprehensive approaches to address urban environmental inequality. He also explores the interplay between neighborhoods’ socio-economic composition and environmental quality, but finds no evidence of environmental inequality between groups with different incomes. The study underscores the role of explanations unrelated to income in exacerbating environmental inequality, such as housing market discrimination. 

Study Design

The study design combines information on the socio-economic and demographic composition of 243,607 urban neighborhoods in Germany with administrative and remote sensing data on the spatial distribution of industrial plants and urban green space to investigate patterns of environmental inequality in urban Germany.

25/4/24, kes