Built Environment

A Multimethod Approach to Assess Sanitary Risks and Microbial Exposures Associated with Waterborne Illnesses and Infrastructure Management in Baltimore, Maryland
Marccus D. Hendricks University of Maryland
Past studies in public health have demonstrated an association between disease and poor sanitation, such as waterborne illnesses and exposure to sewage-laden waters. Modern stormwater and sanitary systems are some of history’s most lifesaving infrastructures. However, failure to maintain and rehabilitate these systems over the years, as well as changing environmental conditions, have created some pre-modern circumstances in cities across the world including Baltimore, Maryland. These risks may be particularly evident in marginalized urban neighborhoods that often have poorer stormwater and sanitation infrastructure and public works services. The Baltimore City sewer system has frequent overflows of its sanitary sewers due to an old and failing system and more frequent and intense rainfall events further overwhelming the system. Likewise, the city has a number of larger sanitation and waste management issues that can have consequences for ecological and public health. This study uses a multimethod approach to assess sanitary sewer overflow (SSO), among other sanitary risks and exposure to bacteria from contaminated surfaces within the built environment across Baltimore neighborhoods. The study will use SSO incident data, waste and trash data, land use data, and American Community Survey Data to map and statistically model incident risks, along with environmental sampling data and household surveys to understand exposure and impacts.

Community Health Analysis in Gentrifying Environments
Valerie Newsome Garcia Morehouse School of Medicine
Studies have demonstrated associations between neighborhood characteristics and health outcomes. The process of gentrification can change the landscape, available goods/services, affordability, and population of neighborhoods. However, relatively little is known about the potential positive and negative effects of neighborhood change on mental/physical health of residents. The overall aim of the proposed study is to answer the research question, “What is the relationship between gentrification and health?” This formative work also sets out to identify the processes and stages of neighborhood change, research the various tools for measuring indicators of health related to gentrification, and develop a pilot study protocol to engage in community-based research investigating the positive/negative health effects of gentrification on mental and physical health of new and long-term residents. Understanding the various stages of the gentrification process and the health benefits/risks associated with each may aid in developing public health interventions to promote optimal health throughout the process of neighborhood change for all residents.

Gauging Effects of Neighborhood Trends and Sickness (GENTS) Study: Examining the Perception of Transit-Induced Gentrification in Prince George’s County
Jennifer Roberts University of Maryland School of Public Health
Impoverished neighborhoods and communities of color often bear the brunt of unintended transit-oriented development impacts. These impacts have been known to come in the form of transit-induced gentrification (TIG), a socioeconomic by-product of transit-oriented development defined as a phenomenon that occurs when the provision of transit service, particularly light rail transit (LRT), “upscales” nearby neighborhood(s) and displaces existing residents. Consequently, TIG or even the perception of TIG can impact health outcomes (e.g., psychological stress) and social determinants of health (SDOH) (e.g., crime). In Spring 2022, the Purple Line (PL), a 16.2-mile LRT line, is opening in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. comprised of over 80% African American and Hispanic residents. By taking advantage of this natural experiment, we are proposing the GENTS Study in order to evaluate perceived TIG related to the PL LRT and associated health outcome and SDOH changes among Prince George’s County adults in a prospective case-comparison design.