How Do Different Social Groups Perceive and Define Outdoor Air Pollution?

Charlotte Noël , Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Christophe Vanroelen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Lisa Van Landschoot, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sylvie Gadeyne, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Urban areas are growing fast worldwide and there is an increasing concern about the relations between urbanization, environmental threats, the quality of living spaces and human health. Living in an unhealthy living environment can have an important negative impact on one’s health. One element that contributes to an unhealthy living environment is outdoor air pollution. Many studies find negative associatons between the level of outdoor air pollution and health. It remains unclear however, whether this association is the same for everyone. Therefore, in this study we make use of an intersectionality approach. More specifically, we analyse whether the influence of living in a polluted environment on health may be different for men versus women, for lower versus higher educated, for young versus old people, for foreign-born versus native-born communities. Having an understanding about how different social groups perceive and define outdoor air pollution is key in understanding their perception of exposure and is a first step in understanding and explaining the impact of air pollution on health. Following a quantitative analysis of these relationships, we will now investigate via in-depth face-to-face interviews with citizens of the Brussels Capital Region (Belgium) how different social groups perceive and define air pollution. We also aim to identify the different cultural/mental schemes and world views employed by Brussels citizens to identify certain elements as polluting and others as not polluting. The qualitative analysis in the field of environmental health inequalities presented in this study is quite innovative.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy