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Author

Roberto Melfi

Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography

Supervisor

Walter Peace

Language

English

Abstract

This research attempts to understand how the alteration of green space to install new transportation infrastructure has impacted the daily life and psychosocial health of area residents. Psychosocial health refers to the distress, dysfunction and disability manifested in a range of psychological, social and behavioural outcomes as a consequence of actual or perceived environmental exposure. A case study was employed using the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP) located in Hamilton, Ontario. To investigate this research problem, a mixed methods approach was utilized with self-administered surveys (N=216) and in-depth interviews (N=21) of residents living within 1000 metres of the RHVP to understand how the parkway has affected the everyday lives of those living in close proximity to the road. The findings do not address specific characteristics of respondents who are more likely to report concerns with the parkway, as well the study may not represent the general population; nonetheless the findings provide us some insight into the lives of those who identify concerns with the parkway and how these concerns have affected their daily life. The findings of this research indicate that concerns are linked to distance as the majority of residents who express concerns about the parkway live within 200 metres of the road. The results suggest that the presence of the Red Hill Valley Parkway and the increase in noise and vehicle exhaust has contributed to negative perceptions of the neighbourhood, has led to an increase in annoyance, activity and sleep disturbances, and impacted the quality of life of residents. Residents experienced a number of psychosocial symptoms relating to the parkway as they no longer are able to use their home or outdoor environment like they used to which was essential for general well-being and daily behaviour. The study concludes by providing recommendations to assist policy makers in eliminating and mitigating such impacts, as well as outlining future studies which should focus on the long-term effects of exposure to transportation infrastructure and traffic on psychosocial health and wellbeing.

McMaster University Library

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