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COGST 1500 Intro To Human Environ Relat Cornell University

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COGST 1500 Intro To Human Environ Relat Cornell University

How do we feel about cities?
 North Americans feel somewhat ambivalent about them (areas of opportunity, but at the
same time they can be dangerous and overcrowded)
 “American cities are a source of pestilence to the morals, health, and liberties of man.” –
Jefferson “I wish to have city facility and polish for my children” – Emerson
Neighborhood and Territory
 Bringing the HER Process of Territoriality over to the Urban Setting
 The case of urban renewal
o Ex: West End of Boston- people living in the cities were uprooted involuntarily
 Movement to healthier and better facilities, but grief is still omnipresent
 Place attachment- a lot of their life spilled into the street and community street as an
extension of the home
o High external density- easy and unplanned social interaction because of high
 Friction of distance – important component of friendship because some may have not
enough money or means to overcome the friction of distance
Physical Distance vs. Functional Distance
Functional Distance: are there pathways that cross? Are there visual sightlines? Are there
focal points where people come together?
 Places that are physically close can be functionally distant or vice versa
 Renewal often does not take into account the functional distance, and that is why there is a
lack in social interaction
 Link to social and environmental justice issues – Who gets renewed? Usually in lower
income areas, not upper class.
Differs Amongst Cultures
 Certain Native Americans need access to the water (both traditionally and for their

Cities HER Process I: Behavioral Toxicology

 Interdisciplinary field on borders of medicine, environmental science, public health, and
psychology  study of effects of toxic substances on behavior
 Links between environment and health
o The substances are not random- concentrated in areas of poverty
 Study of organic damage from toxins or poisons – original definition
Characteristics of Behavioral Toxicology
 Environmental Justice or Racism
o Discrimination based on class, ethnicity, etc.
o Ex: Levels of lead exposure is most prevalent in families below poverty line
o Living proximity to toxic waste facilities, exposure to DDT
 Subclinical Toxicity- no evidence of physical organic damage
o Below the radar – not visible or detectable easily
o Subtle behavior symptoms at much lower doses than cause organic damage
o Like the “canary in the mind”- early warning symptom, even at very low levels,
they can cause serious problems – put behavioral toxicology on the map
 Differential Vulnerability and Susceptibility Over Time
o Can depend on how old the organism is and the timing of the exposure
o Exposure to led in uterus is different than if you were exposed to lead later on in
your lifetime
 Historically
o Many of these toxins are byproducts of industrial revolution
o Environmental archeology: try to understand how toxins are maintained in certain
toxins from many years before, looking at lead levels in the bones and skeletal
tissues of organisms
o Dramatic increases in exposure to these toxins over long periods of time
Public Policy and Research: there are no longer any control groups!
 Lead is a heavy metal and is sequestered in bone tissues
o Look at children’s baby teeth to find the amount of lead
 Is there a dose-response function?
o Children were rated on characteristics (successful student/member of society)
o The kids with the highest lead amounts were the most persistent
o As the amount of lead in the teeth goes up….
 More reading disabilities- less likely to graduate from college
 Trouble to persist and follow directions/stay on task
 More easily frustrated
 Not only IQ, but also behavioral differences
 Aggression, destructive, and depression or mania
 Might be overlap in U.S. between the areas with high crime and the areas with high lead
 Mini-Matta Disease:
o A lot of industrial dumping of mercury into this Japanese bay
o Sometimes we learn by environmental effects via accidents
 Correlational Studies
o Confounding- can, for example, be socioeconomic status
o Proving causality can only be done with experiments
 Object permanence: knowing that something is still there, even if you cannot still see it
o Takes babies many sessions to learn the object permanence of maternal mercury
 PCBs
o Used in the production of materials for insulation
o A lot in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie
o Babies were hyporesponisve and had memory deficits
 Less active and alert at birth
o If you eat fish with PCBs, and then get pregnant, you can then pass it on to your
child (gets stored in your fat because they are lipophyllic)
 Reduced fertility in males and reduced sperm count
Establishing Cause and Effect: A Research Nightmare
 Multiple exposures “toxic soup”
o How do you pick out the one toxin that your looking for?
o There are many toxins that “co-vary” and overlap
 No unexposed controls
o You cannot find anyone in the world that has no lead in their blood!
 Subclinical
o Unless somebody knows about it, you won’t be able to see it, overlook it
 Animal testing- ethical, external validity
 Lag effects
 Critical period
 Multiple effects
o Doses produce nonspecific effects (ex: fatigue)
o Wide individual variation in symptoms
o You like to see specificity – that this toxin exhibits a unique effect or “signature”
 Gene X Environment
 Behavioral disorder with clinical validity
 Within group heterogeneity, poorly understood etiology and this
hampers the prevention and cure
 Maybe the reason why the charts showed different responses, was that
because some results differ because of genetic variability
 Genetic vulnerability to toxins can introduce individual differences.
 Precautionary Principles: In Europe, move towards precautionary principle,
particularly for early childhood exposure. In US, no requirement to prove safety before the
fact. Burden of proof is on the public, not the manufacturer.
o You can’t do anything unless you’ve proven it is bad.
o If there is any suggestion that it is bad, get rid of it.
 Significance of Small Effects
o A change in Pb exposure of 10-20 micrograms/dl causes an IQu drop of 3 points
 What would this mean for the IQ distribution in the USA if IQ shifted down
by three points?
 Currently 2.3 % of US population have an IQ below 70 which is
considered mental retardation. However, a shift down by 3 points
would change this to 3%.
Inequities- Toxic Areas are not Completely Random
 Ajibowa Native Americans were moved during urban renewal to an area with a water
source that is filled with mercury
Cities HER Process II: Crowding
Perceptions of Crowding
 Physical index vs. Psychological Experience
 Density is necessary, but not necessarily sufficient for crowding.
o There are two ways you can change density…
 Changes in Social Density
 Same amount of space, and change the amount of people.
 Changes in Spatial Density
 Same number of people, and change the space.
o Internal vs. External
 Correlating people per square mile with health – not much correlation.
 If you look at people per square foot or per room, there IS a correlation.
  how you measure crowding or density is important
o “Crime is not related to density because if I look at crime rates in the U.S. versus in
Hong Kong, Hong Kong has much more crowding and U.S. has more crime.”
 This is a methodological issue of definition; you are averaging the areas in
the U.S. that are highly populated with those that aren’t at all
The Malthusian Doctrine
 From Britain, which is an island, and he was a scientist.
o Population is increasing exponentially, but the food is not growing at the same
rate (grows more linearly).  happening now in Sudan and Ethiopia
 Malthus said that populations are regulated by carrying capacity
o You will have war, disease, and the population will eventually crash.
o Population is a check, or a break, on growth.
o Hall- “Malthus Reconsidered”
 If you give them all the food they need, Malthus assumes that there will be
no problem.
 However, the population still crashed because of stress, perhaps
from crowding.
 Fertility rates decreased, and the dominance of the alpha
hierarchy fell apart.
  Crowding can be linked to stress, and be related to population growth
in a much more complicated way than Malthus thought.
The Endocrine System is Related to Stress Response
 Adrenal glands release stress hormones
Children vs. Density
 More symptoms of psychological problems at rooms with higher density
 Expert rating of their mental health also relates to density
 High school academic achievement is higher on state exams for those coming from low
density environments than those coming from high density environments.
 After long periods of exposure to many other kids in the classroom, they are less “on task”
than before.
Human Crowding Research
 Physical health – high density and elevated infectious diseases because close quarters
provides more vectors for transmission
 Crowding as a stressor: elevated blood pressure in lab and field studies; elevated stress
hormones (ex: traffic congestion)
Crowding and Mental Health
 Evidence of associations, especially of people/room and elevated psychological distress in
both children and adults
 Possibility that this may be a pathway
o Density  Social Support  Psychological Health
 CROWDING = Too much unwanted social interaction
o To cope with it, you most likely cut down on your social interaction.


COGST 1500 Intro To Human Environ Relat Cornell University


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