Effect modifications of overhead-view and eye-level urban greenery on heat-mortality associations: small-area analyses using case time series design and different greenery measurements

Jinglu Song*, Antonio Gasparrini, Thomas Fisher, Yi Lu, Kejia Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The protective effect of urban greenery from adverse heat impacts remains inconclusive. Existing inconsistent findings may be attributed to the different estimation techniques used.
Objectives: We investigated how effect modifications of urban greenery on heat-mortality associations vary when using different greenery measurements reflecting overhead-view and eye-level urban greenery.
Methods: We collected meteorological and daily mortality data for 286 territory planning units between 2005 and 2018 in Hong Kong. Three greenery measurements were extracted for each unit: 1) the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from Landsat remote sensing images, 2) the percentage of greenspace based on land use data, and 3) eye-level street greenery from street view images via a deep learning technique. Time series analyses were performed using the case time series design with a linear interaction between the temperature term and each of the three greenery measurements. Effect modifications were also estimated for different age groups and gender, and cause-specific diseases.
Results: Higher mortality risks were associated with both, moderate and extreme heat, with relative risks (RRs) of 1.022 (95% CI: 1.000, 1.044) and 1.045 (1.013, 1.079) at the 90th and 99th percentiles of temperatures relative to the minimum mortality temperature (MMT). Lower RRs were observed in greener areas whichever of the three greenery measurements was used, but the disparity of RRs between areas with low and high levels of urban greenery was more apparent when using eye-level street greenery as the index at high temperatures (99th percentile relative to MMT), with RRs for low and high levels of greenery, respectively, of 1.096 (1.035, 1.161) and 0.985 (0.920, 1.055) for NDVI (p-value = 0.0193), 1.068 (1.021, 1.117) and 0.990 (0.906, 1.081) for the percentage of greenspace (p-value = 0.1338), and 1.103 (1.034,1.177) and 0.943 (0.841, 1.057) for eye-level street greenery (p-value = 0.0186). Health discrepancies remained for non-accidental mortality and cardiorespiratory diseases, and were more apparent for older adults (age≥65 years) and females.
Discussion: This study provides new evidence that eye-level street greenery shows stronger associations with reduced heat mortality risks, compared with overhead-view greenery based on NDVI and percentage of greenspace. The effect modification of urban greenery tends to be amplified as temperatures rise and are more apparent in older adults and females. Heat mitigation strategies and health interventions, in particular with regards to accessible and visible greenery, are needed for helping heat-sensitive subpopulation groups in coping with extreme heat.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2023

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