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Urban neighborhoods with locations of environmental contamination, known as brownfields, impact entire neighborhoods, but corrective environmental remedial action on brownfields is often tracked on an individual property basis, neglecting the larger neighborhood-level impact. This study addresses this impact by examining spatial differences between brownfields with unmitigated environmental concerns (open site) and sites that are considered fully mitigated or closed in urban neighborhoods (closed site) on the US census tract scale in Wayne County, MI. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s leaking underground storage tank (LUST) database provided brownfield information for Wayne County. Local indicators of spatial association (LISA) produced maps of spatial clustering and outliers. A McNemar’s test demonstrated significant discordances in LISA categories between LUST open and closed sites (p<0.001). Geographically weighted regressions (GWR) evaluated the association between open and closed site spatial density (open-closed) with socioeconomic variables (population density, proportion of White or Black residents, proportion of college educated populations, the percentage of owner-occupied units, vacant units, rented units, and median household value). Final multivariate GWR showed that population density, being Black, college education, vacant units, and renter occupied units were significantly associated (p<0.05) with open-closed, and that those associations varied across Wayne County. Increases in Black population was associated with increased open-closed. Increases in vacant units, renter-occupied units, and college education were associated with decreased open-closed. These results provide input for environmental justice research to identify inequalities and discover the distribution of environmental hazards among urban neighborhoods.


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


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