Green spaces and health disparity caused by socioeconomic disparity

Journal Artical

Green spaces mitigate racial disparity of health: A higher ratio of green spaces indicates a lower racial disparity in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in the USA

Environment International, 2021, IF= 13.352

There is striking racial disparity in the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection rates in the United States. We hypothesize that the disparity is significantly smaller in areas with a higher ratio of green spaces. County level data on the SARS-CoV-2 infection rates of black and white individuals in 135 of the most urbanized counties across the United States were collected. The total population in these counties is 132,350,027, comprising 40.3% of the U.S. population. The ratio of green spaces by land-cover type in each county was extracted from satellite imagery. A hierarchical regression analysis measured cross-sectional associations between racial disparity in infection rates and green spaces, after controlling for socioeconomic, demographic, pre-existing chronic disease, and built-up area factors. We found a higher ratio of green spaces at the county level is significantly associated with a lower racial disparity in infection rates. Four types of green space have significant negative associations with the racial disparity in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates. A theoretical model with five core mechanisms and one circumstantial mechanism is presented to interpret the findings.

Quality of sweatshop factory outdoor environments matters for workers’ stress and anxiety: A participatory smartphone-photography survey

Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2019, IF= 7.649

Stress and anxiety are pervasive mental health problems in “sweatshop” manufacturing factories, leading to depression, violence, and suicide. Previous studies ascribed workers’ mental health problems to social-demographic and employment factors. Few have explored whether, and to what extent, the outdoor environment impacts workers’ stress and anxiety status. Without this understanding, we lose the opportunity to create evidence-based environmental interventions that promote mental health for tens of millions of sweatshop workers worldwide. This participatory smartphone-photography survey (PSPS) study focuses on a large manufacturing factory in China where many suicides have occurred. 79 factory workers photographed 237 outdoor factory sites and then answered questions about the environmental qualities of the photographed sites, as well as their stress and anxiety status. After controlling for sociodemographic and employment factors, the regression analysis shows environmental factors collectively were significantly associated with workers’ stress and anxiety status, and several specific environmental factors showed a significant association.

Where Is My Home: The Redesign of Urban Park Landscape as an Early Social Intervention for the Homeless Population

Time Architecture, 2023

The population of homeless in Hong Kong is increasing year by year, but the material resources provided by the society only focus on the superficial phenomenon of homelessness, ignoring the core predicament: weakened social ties and lack of social support. This article examines existing social resources to tease out the missing factors—transitional jobs, additional income, basic health care, meeting basic needs, and stable camper sites—in an attempt to develop early interventions from a landscape perspective: herbal growing plans to help people get ready to escape homelessness.

Book or Book Chapter

Landscape Empowerment —— A Participatory Design Approach to Create Restorative Environments for Assembly Line Workers in the Foxconn Factory

Springer, 2021

Good designs come from down-to-earth observation, thorough research, sincere interactions, and exchange with the Foxconn workers. In our minds, the workers are independent, highly regarded, and beloved individuals, but not a stereotyped social group. We believe the emphasis on one-to-one relationship between designers and workers and the follow-up researchers on the life and mind of one another is the key to deliver a successful community-engaged design.         

Understanding the Manufacturing Plant of Foxconn: Global Visions and Local Practices in the Labor Regime of China

Springer, 2021

This article examines the history of the development of Foxconn’s manufacturing system, not only from a dynamic local economy perspective, but also from the perspective of cross-scale investigations of the global industry transfer. We use mixed research methods in this investigation, including literature review, media review, field research, and projective drawing making. On site, observation and collaboration with workers through photo taking and interview have been made. We argue that the impact of Foxconn on social, cultural, and environmental conditions at multiple scales is an inescapable consequence of global capital flow under local laissez-faire policies and will continuously diffuse to more developing and industrializing countries. Furthermore, we argue that the stressful working ethics and severe environmental conditions in Foxconn manufacturing plants have a serious negative impact on workers’ mental health, physical health, and well-being.