A data framework for assessing social inequality and equity in multi-sector social, ecological, infrastructural urban systems: Focus on fine-spatial scales

Lara P. Clark, Samuel Tabory, Kangkang Tong, Joseph L. Servadio, Kelsey Kappler, Corey Kewei Xu, Abiola S. Lawal, Peter Wiringa, Len Kne, Richard Feiock, Julian D. Marshall, Armistead Russell, Anu Ramaswami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cities are increasingly advancing multiple societal goals related to environmental sustainability, health, well-being, and equity. However, there are few comprehensive data sets that address social inequality and equity across multiple infrastructure sectors, determinants, and outcomes, particularly at fine intra-urban spatial scales. This paper: (1) Offers an overarching conceptualization of inequality and equity in multi-sector urban systems; (2) Introduces a broad data framework to assess inequality and equity across social (S), ecological (E), infrastructural (I), and urban (U) form determinants (SEIU) and environment (E), health (H), well-being (W), and economy and security (E) outcomes (EHWE), identifying a universe of >110 SEIU–EHWE data layers (variables) of interest; (3) Provides an illustrative data case study of a US city that synthesizes publicly available sources of the associated SEIU–EHWE data attributes, noting their availability/gaps at fine spatial scales, important to inform social inequality; (4) Discusses analytic methods to quantify inequality and spatial correlates across SEIU determinants and EHWE outcomes; and, (5) Demonstrates several use-cases of the data framework and companion analytic methods through real-world applied case studies that inform equity planning in applications ranging from energy sector investments to air pollution and health. The US data case study reveals data availability (covering 41 of the 113 data layers) as well as major gaps associated with EHWE outcomes at fine spatial scales, while the application examples demonstrate practical use. Overall, the SEIU–EHWE data framework provides an anchor for systematically gathering, analyzing, and informing multiple dimensions of inequality and equity in sustainable urban systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Keywords

  • data framework
  • industrial ecology
  • social ecological infrastructural urban systems
  • social equity
  • spatial inequality
  • sustainable urban systems

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