Fighting for Urban Environmental Health Justice in Southside (Los Sures) Williamsburg, Brooklyn

A Community-Engaged Pilot Study

Authored by: Ivan J. Ramírez , Ana Baptista , Jieun Lee , Ana Traverso-Krejcarek , Andreah Santos

Handbook of Global Urban Health

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138206250
eBook ISBN: 9781315465456
Adobe ISBN:


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The aim of this chapter is to present preliminary results and outcomes from a pilot study that examined concentrations of urban traffic-related air pollutants in recreation spaces in Southside (Los Sures) Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York City. The study, conducted through a partnership between the Tishman Environment and Design Center (The New School University) and El Puente, a human rights organization, builds on previous initiatives that addressed asthma disparities and built community health capacities, primarily among a Latino subpopulation. Using a community-engaged approach, students along with social justice practitioners collected data of fine particulate matter in four neighborhood parks situated along the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. Preliminary results suggest that three of the four parks exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (35 µg/m3) for a 24-hour period. Furthermore, fine particulate matter estimates were two times greater on several days when compared to the local New York State air quality monitor. Further analysis is needed to examine and support these patterns of air quality and to assess the exposure of residents to traffic-related fine particulate matter and subsequent health effects (e.g. asthma prevalence). Preliminary findings provide some evidence to support advocacy for new and improved quality recreation spaces and the right to clean air.

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