Urban Air Pollution and Inequalities in Fast Industrialising Countries

This project aims to investigate the social, economic and political impacts of chronic ambient (outdoor) air pollution on low-income communities in the fast industrialising countries of China and India.

Poor people are disproportionately affected by air pollution. Policies which are intended to reduce it can, in some cases, actually make this inequality worse.

The project’s main purpose is to lay the foundation for a large comparative case study of two mega cities, Beijing and Delhi, to understand how poor people are affected by persistent urban air pollution and how an inclusive policy process can be developed to address the inequalities associated with air pollution.

The project seeks to address the following questions:

  1. How and to what extent are the impacts of ambient air pollution distributed unequally?
  2. How do policy processses designed to combat pollution actually contribute to these inequalities?
  3. What innovative measures or practices are emerging, or can be adopted, to reduce air pollution more equally, and how could such measures and practices be supported by more inclusive institutions?

Location and Methods

This research initiative is designed as an inter-disciplinary and multi-methods research project that combines members from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and local experts previously working on environmental politics, human geography, public administration, political economy, and social anthropology.

Local communities and policy makers in Beijing and Delhi are to be engaged via interviews and workshops organized and led by UK and local researchers.

Timescale and funding

The project will run for one year from February 2018 – February 2019.

It is supported by the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme.

Project team

Principal Investigator:

Dr Wei Shen, Institute of Development Studies, [email protected]


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