Environmental Research 2021; 196: 110988 -

The impact of urban and transport planning on health: Assessment of the attributable mortality burden in Madrid and Barcelona and its distribution by socioeconomic status.

Iungman T, Khomenko S, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Barboza EP, Ambros A, Padilla C, Mueller N
The population living in urban areas is growing rapidly. The level of exposure to adverse environmental factors is detrimental to human health and is directly related to urban and transport planning practices. To estimate the premature mortality burden of non-compliance with international exposure guidelines for air pollution, noise, access to green space and heat for Barcelona and Madrid (Spain), and its distribution among the population by the socioeconomic status (SES). The Urban and TranspOrt planning Health Impact Assessment (UTOPHIA) tool was applied and the attributable premature mortality due to non-compliance with recommended exposure levels was estimated. The distribution of the attributable mortality burden among the population by SES was investigated through Generalized Additive Models (GAMs) adjusting for spatial autocorrelation and a cluster analysis was performed to identify attributable mortality hot spots. Annually, 7.1% and 3.4% of premature mortality in Barcelona and Madrid, respectively, could be attributed to non-compliance with the international exposure recommendations for air pollution, noise, heat and access to green space. In addition, analysis by SES showed that in Barcelona lower SES areas had an overall greater attributable mortality rate, while in Madrid, the distribution of the attributable mortality burden by SES varied by exposure. This study shows the impact of environmental exposures on mortality and highlights the importance of taking integrated actions when designing cities considering the health impacts, but also the specificities of each city such as the socio-demographic context. Moreover, the high precision scale of the analysis enables the identification of environmental hazards and mortality hot spots providing a powerful tool to support priority-setting and guide policymakers towards a healthy, sustainable and just city for all of their residents. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.