Online Program

Spatial, social and racial exploration of building code enforcement in toledo, Ohio

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rory Weier, MPH, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
David Norris, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Housing quality is central to a community's health. Substandard housing with lead paint exposure hazards is associated with poor mental, respiratory and other health outcomes. Toledo, Ohio, home to 287,208 residents (64.8% White, 18.8% in poverty; 27.2% Black, 41.8% in poverty), has received numerous federal grants to improve the safety and quality of its residences. However, anecdotal evidence suggests predominately low-income Black neighborhoods are less likely to receive housing code violation abatement resources than more affluent, White neighborhoods. An estimated 96% of the City's residential stock was built before 1978, the year in which the sale and use of residential lead-based paint was banned. Using administrative data from the City of Toledo's Code Enforcement Division, this study will analytically explore the city's multi-step municipal code enforcement process to assess whether there is evidence of spatial, social and/or racial variation in code enforcement complaint filings, follow-up and prosecution. Methods: Geocode data obtained from the City of Toledo on all municipal code complaints received between 2001 and 2011. Obtain 2000 and 2010 Census socioeconomic and demographic information at the census tract level, including race and poverty status. Determine the annual number of building code complaints received per capita by census tract. Create map layers to follow complaints by census tract through the City's multi-step building code enforcement process (Step 1: City's response to initial complaint; Step 2: Of the complaints investigated, action taken by City; Step 3: Of the properties requiring a letter to the owner, method of building code violation correction; Step 4: Of the uncorrected building code violations, action taken by City; Step 5: Of the uncorrected building code violations cited, properties taken to court). Use appropriate statistical analyses at each step to determine whether there are significant differences in building code enforcement by racial and/or social census tract characteristics.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess whether there is social and/or racial variation in housing code enforcement in Toledo, OH using a geospatial lens. Describe challenges and strategies when conducting spatial analyses using administrative data.

Keyword(s): Geographic Information Systems, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am second year Epidemiology PhD student in the College of Public Health at The Ohio State University pursuing an Interdisciplinary Specialization in Geospatial Data and Analysis. I have a strong professional and academic interest in social and environmental determinants of heath and health disparities. I will present on work I am currently completing as a Graduate Research Associate of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.