Spatial Analysis of the Environment’s Influence on Pediatric Asthma in Baltimore City using a Geographic Information System

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The University of Maryland McNair Scholars Undergraduate Research Journal, 2, (2010): 180-193.



The problem being addressed in this proposed study is the tendency of residents living in low-income, inner city, and minority neighborhoods being exposed to poorer air quality than residents living in upper-income, suburban, white neighborhoods. As a result of the poor environmental conditions, poor urban dwellers experience higher rates of respiratory diseases such as asthma in their communities. The purpose of this proposed project is to study the environmental factors that are associated with an increase in pediatric asthma and identify which of these factors can be found in Baltimore communities using a geographic information system. The location of possible sources contributing to high concentrations of asthma occurrences in Baltimore City such as brownfields and major roadways will be examined. In addition, racial and socioeconomic conditions found in Baltimore will be analyzed to see if they can be linked to asthma rates. The proposed project’s methodology will consist of an exploratory analysis of the asthma geographic epidemiology in Baltimore. The literature currently states that areas of high urbanization experience more cases of asthma hospitalization than rural areas. Anticipated findings include having a high concentration of asthma occurrences in Baltimore’s predominately black, poor, and inner city neighborhoods. Furthermore, these disadvantaged Baltimore neighborhoods will be located right next to sources of environmental pollution.