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Air Quality in Hamilton: Who is Concerned? Perceptions from Three Neighbourhoods


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  • Dylan Simone


  • John Eyles
  • K. Newbold
  • Peter Kitchen
  • Allison Williams
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    This study investigates the factors influencing perceptions of air quality in the industrial city of Hamilton, Canada. The research employs data collected via a telephone survey of 1,002 adult residents in three neighbourhoods. Perceptions in the neighbourhoods were examined by individual socio-demographic factors (age, gender, marital and immigrant status, education, etc.) in addition to perceived health status and neighbourhood problems (environmental, social and safety concerns). Neighbourhood variations were found, with those residing in the Southwest Mountain neighbourhood being over 6 times more likely to report a ‘good’ perception of air quality than those residing in the Lower City neighbourhood. In addition, factors influencing these perceptions also varied by neighbourhood. Perceived neighbourhood problems strongly influenced perceptions of air quality in the Lower City and Central areas, whereas socio-demographic factors were significant primarily in the Lower City neighbourhood, suggesting the importance of these mediating dimensions; pointing to less of a concern about air quality. There was, however, remarkable consistency in all three neighbourhoods when respondents were asked whether their perception of air quality affected their choice to go outside. Overall, the presence or absence of perceived problems, such as pollution and safety, had a powerful effect on shaping and differentiating neighbourhood responses. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

    Volume (Year): 108 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 239-255

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:2:p:239-255

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    Keywords: Lay perceptions; Air quality; Environment; Health; Hamilton;


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    1. Moffatt, Suzanne & Phillimore, Peter & Bhopal, Raj & Foy, Christopher, 1995. "'If this is what it's doing to our washing, what is it doing to our lungs?' Industrial pollution and public understanding in North-East England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 883-891, September.
    2. Wen, Ming & Hawkley, Louise C. & Cacioppo, John T., 2006. "Objective and perceived neighborhood environment, individual SES and psychosocial factors, and self-rated health: An analysis of older adults in Cook County, Illinois," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(10), pages 2575-2590, November.
    3. Michael Buzzelli & Michael Jerrett, 2004. "Racial gradients of ambient air pollution exposure in Hamilton, Canada," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(10), pages 1855-1876, October.
    4. Wakefield, Sarah & Elliott, Susan J., 2000. "Environmental risk perception and well-being: effects of the landfill siting process in two southern Ontario communities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(7-8), pages 1139-1154, April.
    5. Pampalon, Robert & Hamel, Denis & De Koninck, Maria & Disant, Marie-Jeanne, 2007. "Perception of place and health: Differences between neighbourhoods in the Québec City region," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 95-111, July.
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