Version 3.2

Decoupling or cost-shifting? Air pollution in a sprawling city (Warsaw, Poland).

Both the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) and Environmental Justice (EJ) address the environmental externalities of development. The first category, well-established within the hegemonic economic discourse, assumes than once a certain level of wealth is reached, further income growth brings a cleaner environment. This universal trajectory is considered appropriate at both national and local scales, among cities and countries. On the contrary, EJ emphasizes that the growing burden of environmental externalities is shifted to marginalized groups, creating an unequal socio-spatial distribution of environmental costs and amenities. Yet, these two approaches (EKC & EJ) are rarely contrasted in a single, unified study. Studies from the EKC strand focus primarily on differences between, rather than within regions, thus overlooking significant spatial heterogeneity on a local level. Additionally, the dynamic perspective is often missing, neglecting spatial processes within urban regions (such as urban sprawl evident in Eastern European cities) that creates a novel socio-ecological map. Finally, studies from both streams have limited geographic scope, which - given the importance of cultural context - limits the reliability of the results achieved so far.
The purpose of this study is to apply both EKC and EJ framework to investigate the air pollution-income relationship in the Warsaw metropolitan region. Using fine-grained data and spatial econometrics tools, we examine the linkages between key air pollutants and income, gender and age. We incorporate internal mobility data to capture possible geographical sorting emerging within the sprawling city. The study help to embed the current EJ/EKC discourse in a new setting, by taking into account recent urbanization processes occurring in Eastern Europe. It is also the first attempt in Poland to uncover the socio-spatial distribution of air pollution, thus adding an equity-oriented perspective to the heated debate on haze in cities.


Day: 2023-08-31
Start time: 16:45
Duration: 00:15
Room: ZV-8-4
Type: Paper Presentation
Theme: Hegemonic worldviews and degrowth horizon


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