Multi-contextual segregation and environmental justice research: Toward fine-scale spatiotemporal approaches

Yoo Min Park, Mei Po Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many environmental justice studies have sought to examine the effect of residential segregation on unequal exposure to environmental factors among different social groups, but little is known about how segregation in non-residential contexts affects such disparity. Based on a review of the relevant literature, this paper discusses the limitations of traditional residence-based approaches in examining the association between socioeconomic or racial/ethnic segregation and unequal environmental exposure in environmental justice research. It emphasizes that future research needs to go beyond residential segregation by considering the full spectrum of segregation experienced by people in various geographic and temporal contexts of everyday life. Along with this comprehensive understanding of segregation, the paper also highlights the importance of assessing environmental exposure at a high spatiotemporal resolution in environmental justice research. The successful integration of a comprehensive concept of segregation, high-resolution data and fine-grained spatiotemporal approaches to assessing segregation and environmental exposure would provide more nuanced and robust findings on the associations between segregation and disparities in environmental exposure and their health impacts. Moreover, it would also contribute to significantly expanding the scope of environmental justice research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1205
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 10 2017


  • Big Data
  • Environmental exposure
  • Environmental health hazards
  • Environmental justice
  • Fine-scale spatiotemporal approaches
  • Health disparities
  • Human mobility
  • Multi-contextual segregation
  • Time geography
  • Uncertain geographic context problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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