A GIS-based framework to identify priority areas for urban environmental inequity mitigation and its application in Santiago de Chile

Ignacio C. Fernández, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Environmental inequity is a common phenomenon of modern cities, particularly in the developing world where the high rates of urbanization often surpass the capacity of local governments to develop proper urban planning. In these cities the spatial distribution of environmental quality is frequently associated with socioeconomic characteristics, with vulnerable sectors often having a disproportionately larger share of environmental problems. While reducing environmental inequity is widely recognized as an important step towards more sustainable cities, decision-makers usually lack the tools and information for designing effective and efficient intervention strategies. A challenging decision is to resolve on where, among all the areas having environmental problems, efforts should be allocated first. Here we present a GIS-based framework that can help decision-makers to prioritize the spatial allocation of policy interventions at different spatial scales or administrative levels. The framework focuses on (1) identifying areas having the highest levels of environmental problems, (2) identifying areas having the highest levels of social relevance, and (3) prioritizing the allocation of resources within the areas concurrently having the highest levels of environmental problems and social relevance. To show the potential use of the framework we apply it to the city of Santiago de Chile at three different scales. Our assessment focuses on three main environmental problems currently affecting this city: urban heat, lack of green infrastructure, and air pollution. Based on the results from Santiago, we discuss how the framework can be used to help policy-makers to identify priority areas for policy intervention at their respective administrative level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Geography
StatePublished - May 1 2018



  • Decision-making
  • Environmental inequality
  • Environmental inequity
  • Environmental justice
  • Urban planning
  • Urban sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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