Analysis released today by The Guardian and Greenpeace, showing that over a thousand schools are located near dangerously polluted roads, is a welcome contribution to the growing concern about impacts of air pollution in cities (a map and list of polluted schools can be found here). Traffic pollution is bad for all residents and workers in cities, but there is a social dimension which is still getting patchy acknowledgement: traffic is strangling social mobility. Its not just that schools are dangerously polluted, but the poorest pupils are the most exposed, and this affects health and academic outcomes.
A long term study of degenerative neurological diseases in Ontario has found that living in proximity to a major road can increase likelihood of dementia by as much as 12% . This alarming finding provides yet more motivation to critically re-evaluate our priorities for intervention in cities.