Alison Kenner, Drexel University
Breathing in Climate Change: Tracing Shifts in the Place of Urban Public Health
Asthma is being slowly pulled out of the domestic sphere and placed back on the public domain agenda. Although there are moments and places where asthma has been clearly connected to air quality issues at the neighborhood, community, or municipal level, by and large, U.S. asthma care today is executed through biomedical interventions that focus on medication adherence, self-monitoring, and lifestyle choices. Even when asthma is connected to public environmental hazards - transpotation corridors, industrial pollution, or chemical exposure from common products - most advocacy work operates through the home environment, where individuals and families have control of their exposures. Recent work by the Centers for Disease Control and scientists with the U.S. Gobal Change Research Program, however, is forcing a shift in how asthma is cast in relation to environment. National scientific assessments that connect local climate change impacts and public health risks have spurred advisory and working groups that operate in emergent trading zones. These locally-situated trading zones are made lively through discussion of environmental objects and spaces that represent emergent health risks. New data relationalities on urban climate, landscape, and community spur discussion with an eye towards policymaking; these new data relationalities include spatial analyses of neighborhood differences in urban heat index and nuanced evaluation of the distribution of allergenic trees and green space, among others. In this talk i focus on how these intersectoral trading zones hinge on emplaced knowledge and definitions of vulnerability that build on and extend existing care infrastructures.