- Please check and comment entries here.
Built Environment Characteristics and SARS-CoV-2
According to the socioecological framework, SARS-CoV-2 infection risk is affected by multilevel factors, such as individual (e.g., sex, age, and attitudes), behavioural (e.g., mobility and social interaction), social environment (e.g., family and friends), built environment, natural environment (air pollution, humid, and temperature), community (e.g., norms of wearing masks), and public policy (e.g., social distancing measures) factors. These multilevel factors may interact with each other and make the impact of the built environment on infection risk more complex. Therefore, it is necessary to control such covariates or to investigate the interactions between the built environment and the social environment in future studies.
The three major transmission mechanisms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2)are large droplet transmission, aerosol transmission, and fomite transmission .Although many social distancing measures, such as limiting large group gathering and mandatory mask-wearing requirement have been enforced and several vaccines have been developed, there is no effective treatment to cure infected individuals.COVID-19 has significantly changed daily life and challenged the global public health system and social economic development .
Built environment can be defined as human-made surroundings, which provide space and place for human activity .As a key sphere of socioecological framework, built environment factors significantly affect long-term health outcomes, and such effects have been identified across different social and urban contexts .Evidence also supports that a well-designed built environment can improve human health via several major pathways, e.g., promoting physical activity, reducing stress, increasing social contacts, and reducing pernicious environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, sanitation, and noise) .Several built environment factors that influence health have been identified in previous reviews .These factors can be summarized in a five-dimensional (5D) model framework including density, diversity, design, destination accessibility, and distance to transit .
Circumstantial evidence supports that built environment characteristics may be related to the transmission of coronavirus infection.In previous existing literature, a large number of studies have revealed the relationship between built environment and the transmission mechanism and infection risk of SARS-CoV-2 because the built environment affects how people move around and the human-to-human contact in outdoor and indoor environments .For example, a higher density of service facilities (e.g., commercial facilities, schools, hospitals) may increase the risk of close contact, thus leading to the person-to-person SARS-CoV-2 transmission.In addition, public transit passengers may have high infection risk due to prolonged virus exposure within the enclosed carriages.However, evidence related to the effect of special built environment characteristics on the SARS-CoV-2 infection risk is inconclusive.For instance, people who lived in high-density areas may have more social contacts in their daily lives and thus a high risk of infection .Whereas cities and nations with a higher population density were found to implement stricter regulations, which effectively alleviated the spread of the virus .No review has summarized the role of the built environment in the COVID-19 pandemic.This gap in knowledge about built environment characteristics and to what extent they affect SARS-CoV-2 infection should be addressed, as a lack of knowledge may prevent government officials and urban planners from creating effective guidelines and urban environments to contain SARS-CoV-2 infections and face future pandemic challenges.
Given the research gaps discussed inSection 1.2, this review aimed at summarizing the existing evidence and providing an overview of the effect of built environment on SARS-CoV-2 infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.First, we identified the critical built environment factors that affect SARS-CoV-2 infection by comprehensively reviewing empirical studies on this topic.Second, we explored the potential mechanisms by which the built environment characteristics affect SARS-CoV-2 infection.Our study may help to identify high-risk urban areas and thus develop effective strategies to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection via targeted interventions.Our study may also contribute to providing urban planning guidelines to cope with future pandemics.
2. Major Findings
2.1. Commercial Facility Density
2.2. School Density
2.3. Road Density
2.4. Accessibility to Public Transit
2.5. Availability of Green Space
2.6. Urban Density
2.7. Hospital Density
3. Recommendations for Future Studies
The entry is from 10.3390/ijerph18147561
- Jayaweera, M.; Perera, H.; Gunawardana, B.; Manatunge, J. Transmission of COVID-19 virus by droplets and aerosols: A critical review on the unresolved dichotomy. Environ. Res. 2020, 188, 109819.
- Galbadage, T.; Peterson, B.M.; Gunasekera, R.S. Does COVID-19 Spread through Droplets Alone? Front. Public Health 2020, 8, 163.
- Gautam, S.; Hens, L. COVID-19: Impact by and on the environment, health and economy. Environ. Dev. Sustain. 2020, 22, 4953–4954.
- Sarkodie, S.A.; Owusu, P.A. Global assessment of environment, health and economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Environ. Dev. Sustain. 2021, 23, 5005–5015.
- Rapoport, A. Spatial organization and the built environment. In Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology: Humanity, Culture and Social Life; Routledge: Oxon, UK, 1994; pp. 460–502.
- Renalds, A.; Smith, T.H.; Hale, P.J. A Systematic Review of Built Environment and Health. Fam. Community Health 2010, 33, 68–78.
- Jackson, R.J.; Dannenberg, A.L.; Frumkin, H. Health and the Built Environment: 10 Years after. Am. J. Public Health 2013, 103, 1542–1544.
- Lee, I.-M.; Ewing, R.; Sesso, H.D. The Built Environment and Physical Activity Levels: The Harvard Alumni Health Study. Am. J. Prev. Med. 2009, 37, 293–298.
- Evans, G.W. The Built Environment and Mental Health. J. Hered. 2003, 80, 536–555.
- Frank, L.D.; Iroz-Elardo, N.; MacLeod, K.; Hong, A. Pathways from built environment to health: A conceptual framework linking behavior and exposure-based impacts. J. Transp. Health 2019, 12, 319–335.
- Ewing, R.; Cervero, R. Travel and the built environment: A meta-analysis. J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 2010, 76, 265–294.
- Feng, J.; Glass, T.A.; Curriero, F.C.; Stewart, W.F.; Schwartz, B.S. The built environment and obesity: A systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence. Health Place 2010, 16, 175–190.
- Saelens, B.E.; Handy, S.L. Built environment correlates of walking: A review. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2008, 40, S550–S566.
- Lai, K.Y.; Webster, C.; Kumari, S.; Sarkar, C. The nature of cities and the COVID-19 pandemic. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 2020, 46, 27–31.
- Megahed, N.A.; Ghoneim, E.M. Antivirus-built environment: Lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic. Sustain. Cities Soc. 2020, 61, 102350.
- Dietz, L.; Horve, P.F.; Coil, D.A.; Fretz, M.; Eisen, J.A.; Van Den Wymelenberg, K. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations to Reduce Transmission. mSystems 2020, 5, e00245-20.
- Ibrahim, A.M.; Eid, M.M.; Mostafa, N.N.; Bishady, N.E.-H.M.; Elghalban, S.H. Modeling the effect of population density on controlling COVID-19 initial Spread with the use of MATLAB numerical methods and stringency index model. In Proceedings of the 2020 2nd Novel Intelligent and Leading Emerging Sciences Conference (NILES), Giza, Egypt, 24–26 October 2020; Nile University; pp. 612–617.
- Barnett, D.W.; Barnett, A.; Nathan, A.; Van Cauwenberg, J.; Cerin, E. Built environmental correlates of older adults’ total physical activity and walking: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int. J. Behav. Nutr. Phys. Act. 2017, 14, 1–24.
- Kärmeniemi, M.M.; Lankila, T.; Ikäheimo, T.; Koivumaa-Honkanen, H.; Korpelainen, R. The Built Environment as a Determinant of Physical Activity: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies and Natural Experiments. Ann. Behav. Med. 2018, 52, 239–251.
- Li, B.; Peng, Y.; He, H.; Wang, M.; Feng, T. Built environment and early infection of COVID-19 in urban districts: A case study of Huangzhou. Sustain. Cities Soc. 2021, 66, 102685.
- Jin, X.; Leng, Y.; Gong, E.; Xiong, S.; Yao, Y.; Vedanthan, R.; Yang, Z.; Chen, K.; Wu, C.; Yan, L. Neighborhood-Level Public Facilities and COVID-19 Transmission: A Nationwide Geospatial Study in China. medRxiv 2020.
- Li, X.; Zhou, L.; Jia, T.; Peng, R.; Fu, X.; Zou, Y. Associating COVID-19 Severity with Urban Factors: A Case Study of Wuhan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6712.
- Ma, S.; Li, S.; Zhang, J. The Spread of COVID-19 in China at Its Initial Stage: A Township-Level Analysis in Association with the Built Environment. SSRN Electron. J. 2020.
- DiMaggio, C.; Klein, M.; Berry, C.; Frangos, S. Black/African American Communities are at highest risk of COVID-19: Spatial modeling of New York City ZIP Code–level testing results. Ann. Epidemiol. 2020, 51, 7–13.
- Qian, H.; Miao, T.; Liu, L.; Zheng, X.; Luo, D.; Li, Y. Indoor Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 2020. Available online: (accessed on 21 June 2021).
- Hu, T.; Yue, H.; Wang, C.; She, B.; Ye, X.; Liu, R.; Zhu, X.; Guan, W.W.; Bao, S. Racial Segregation, Testing Site Access, and COVID-19 Incidence Rate in Massachusetts, USA. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9528.
- Sharmin, S.; Kamruzzaman, M. Association between the built environment and children’s independent mobility: A meta-analytic review. J. Transp. Geogr. 2017, 61, 104–117.
- Rahman, M.H.; Zafri, N.M.; Ashik, F.; Waliullah, M. GIS-based spatial modeling to identify factors affecting COVID-19 incidence rates in Bangladesh. medRxiv 2020.
- Huang, J.; Kwan, M.-P.; Kan, Z.; Wong, M.; Kwok, C.; Yu, X. Investigating the Relationship between the Built Environment and Relative Risk of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9, 624.
- Liu, L. Emerging study on the transmission of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from urban perspective: Evidence from China. Cities 2020, 103, 102759.
- Shen, J.; Duan, H.; Zhang, B.; Wang, J.; Ji, J.; Wang, J.; Pan, L.; Wang, X.; Zhao, K.; Ying, B.; et al. Prevention and control of COVID-19 in public transportation: Experience from China. Environ. Pollut. 2020, 266, 115291.
- Yip, T.L.; Huang, Y.; Liang, C. Built environment and the metropolitan pandemic: Analysis of the COVID-19 spread in Hong Kong. Build. Environ. 2021, 188, 107471.
- Shamshiripour, A.; Rahimi, E.; Shabanpour, R.; Mohammadian, A. (Kouros) How is COVID-19 reshaping activity-travel behavior? Evidence from a comprehensive survey in Chicago. Transp. Res. Interdiscip. Perspect. 2020, 7, 100216.
- Molloy, J.; Schatzmann, T.; Schoeman, B.; Tchervenkov, C.; Hintermann, B.; Axhausen, K.W. Observed impacts of the COVID-19 first wave on travel behaviour in Switzerland based on a large GPS panel. Transp. Policy 2021, 104, 43–51.
- You, Y.; Pan, S. Urban Vegetation Slows down the Spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the United States. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2020, 47.
- Johnson, T.F.; Hordley, L.A.; Greenwell, M.P.; Evans, L.C. Effect of park use and landscape structure on COVID-19 transmission rates. Sci. Total Environ. 2020.
- Markevych, I.; Schoierer, J.; Hartig, T.; Chudnovsky, A.; Hystad, P.; Dzhambov, A.; de Vries, S.; Triguero-Mas, M.; Brauer, M.; Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J.; et al. Exploring pathways linking greenspace to health: Theoretical and methodological guidance. Environ. Res. 2017, 158, 301–317.
- Yang, L.; Ao, Y.; Ke, J.; Lu, Y.; Liang, Y. To walk or not to walk? Examining non-linear effects of streetscape greenery on walking propensity of older adults. J. Transp. Geogr. 2021, 94, 103099.
- Woodby, B.; Arnold, M.M.; Valacchi, G. SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19 pathogenesis, and exposure to air pollution: What is the connection? Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 2021, 1486, 15–38.
- Lu, Y.; Zhao, J.; Wu, X.; Lo, S.M. Escaping to nature during a pandemic: A natural experiment in Asian cities during the COVID-19 pandemic with big social media data. Sci. Total Environ. 2021, 777, 146092.
- Lu, Y.; Chen, L.; Liu, X.; Yang, Y.; Sullivan, W.C.; Xu, W.; Webster, C.; Jiang, B. Green spaces mitigate racial disparity of health: A higher ratio of green spaces indicates a lower racial disparity in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in the USA. Environ. Int. 2021, 152, 106465.
- You, H.; Wu, X.; Guo, X. Distribution of COVID-19 Morbidity Rate in Association with Social and Economic Factors in Wuhan, China: Implications for Urban Development. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 3417.
- Kan, Z.; Kwan, M.-P.; Wong, M.S.; Huang, J.; Liu, D. Identifying the space-time patterns of COVID-19 risk and their associations with different built environment features in Hong Kong. Sci. Total Environ. 2021, 772, 145379.
- Hamidi, S.; Sabouri, S.; Ewing, R. Does Density Aggravate the COVID-19 Pandemic? J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 2020, 86, 495–509.
- Marotz, C.; Belda-Ferre, P.; Ali, F.; Das, P.; Huang, S.; Cantrell, K.; Jiang, L.; Martino, C.; Diner, R.E.; Rahman, G.; et al. Microbial context predicts SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in patients and the hospital built environment. medRxiv 2020.
- Zhou, F.; Yu, T.; Du, R.; Fan, G.; Liu, Y.; Liu, Z.; Xiang, J.; Wang, Y.; Song, B.; Gu, X.; et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: A retrospective cohort study. Lancet 2020, 395, 1054–1062.
- Credit, K. Neighbourhood inequity: Exploring the factors underlying racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 testing and infection rates using ZIP code data in Chicago and New York. Reg. Sci. Policy Pr. 2020, 12, 1249–1271.
- Lu, Y.; Chen, L.; Yang, Y.; Gou, Z. The Association of Built Environment and Physical Activity in Older Adults: Using a Citywide Public Housing Scheme to Reduce Residential Self-Selection Bias. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1973.
- Nguyen, Q.C.; Huang, Y.; Kumar, A.; Duan, H.; Keralis, J.M.; Dwivedi, P.; Meng, H.-W.; Brunisholz, K.D.; Jay, J.; Javanmardi, M.; et al. Using 164 Million Google Street View Images to Derive Built Environment Predictors of COVID-19 Cases. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6359.
- Boone-Heinonen, J.; Guilkey, D.K.; Evenson, K.R.; Gordon-Larsen, P. Residential self-selection bias in the estimation of built environment effects on physical activity between adolescence and young adulthood. Int. J. Behav. Nutr. Phys. Act. 2010, 7, 1–11.
- Van Cauwenberg, J.; De Bourdeaudhuij, I.; De Meester, F.; Van Dyck, D.; Salmon, J.; Clarys, P.; Deforche, B. Relationship between the physical environment and physical activity in older adults: A systematic review. Health Place 2011, 17, 458–469.