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The social and spatial context of urban health inequalities: towards an interpretive geodemographic framework

Kandt, J; (2015) The social and spatial context of urban health inequalities: towards an interpretive geodemographic framework. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Geodemographics, the technique of classifying small areas by the aggregate characteristics of their residents, is a promising method to study health inequalities and prepare the development of preventive policy. Yet, current approaches do not account for the complexity and contingency of health pathways, which are found to be differentially activated in different groups of populations at different ecological levels. Building on the strength of geodemographics to integrate diverse data and link them ecologically, I suggest an interpretive framework, which characterises population vulnerability to health disadvantage at the level of regions, neighbourhoods and individuals. At the regional level, I explore vulnerability in terms of population structure in Great Britain and UK metropolitan areas in order to assess probable geographies of specific cultural or biological factors that may shape vulnerability. Based on indicators derived from hospital admission data and the UK Census, I identify different specific expressions of vulnerability at the neighbourhood level (which I call health environments), reflecting generic social causes of health advantage and disadvantage as well as specific forms of vulnerability. A comparison of metropolitan areas further reveals specific, local guises of vulnerability across England's cities. At the individual level, I discover from social survey data different groups in society (health milieus), which are characterised by distinct activity patterns, subjective orientations, attitudes and everyday life routines. I model the geographical distribution of health milieus probabilistically for London. Geographical linkage of these layers of information results in suggestions for an alternative urban policy programme to reduce population vulnerability through an emphasis on multi-sectoral and preventive action. The thus advanced geodemographic framework provides a conceptually focussed view of health, socially and spatially contextualised at multiple ecological levels, that contributes to interpreting health inequalities in social science and addressing their root causes through strategic policy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The social and spatial context of urban health inequalities: towards an interpretive geodemographic framework
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: geodemographics, health inequalities, social practice, spatial analysis, urban policy, comparative urban research
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472789
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