The Environmental Equity Laboratory (LAEQ) seeks to bring together sustainable planning and health in a more equitable and sustainable vision of the city.
The laboratory’s work is part of an environmental justice research trend that focuses on specific groups of the population (defined, for example, by income, age, or ethnicity) who experience overexposure to pollution (air pollution, noise) and reduced access to positive elements of the urban environment (urban vegetation, parks, urban resources).
More generally, the LAEQ research program contributes to broader conversations about sociospatial justice in geography and urban studies. The program aims to enrich debate on the definition of the equitable city by considering notions of distributional justice, recognitional justice, and procedural justice.
Research conducted at LAEQ creates specific indicators on the spatial distribution of negative and beneficial elements that affect quality of life.
At LAEQ, 14 graduate students with research interests ranging from air pollution and noise to urban vegetation and parks have access to cutting-edge equipment and powerful computers to carry out their research.
The lab boasts state-of-the-art instruments for collecting data on real-time exposure to air pollution and traffic noise, including:
The laboratory also has a facility for analyzing urban environmental data. Equipment includes:
GIS and remote sensing software
Spatial analysis software
Statistical analysis software
Here are two examples of the kind of work carried out by the lab:
In short, LAEQ research is centred on exposure to urban nuisances as well as access to the positive aspects of urban life, namely:
The lab analyzes the spatial concentration and distribution of pollution and beneficial elements in cities worldwide, including:
LAEQ also measures individual exposure to negative and beneficial elements based on mobility habits. This can include:
LAEQ’s work targets four economically or physiologically vulnerable groups:
LAEQ was created through a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (FCI) and the Government of Quebec.