Sustainability and Social Justice

Date of Award


Degree Type

Practitioner Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in GIS for Development and Environment (GISDE)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger


tobacco, smoking, schools, public health


Performed as part of an internship with the Worcester Division of Public Health in the summer of 2016, this spatial analysis examines the proximity of tobacco retailers to the city’s public schools and finds that those in low-income neighborhoods tend to have greater numbers of tobacco sales outlets in the immediate area than do schools in more-affluent neighborhoods. The analysis also finds that the racial composition of student bodies at individual schools is moderately correlated with the number of tobacco points of purchase located near those schools. Because proximity to tobacco sales outlets is known to be a factor in smoking rates both in adults and children, these findings raise public health and social justice concerns about the spatial distribution of tobacco sales in Worcester. This paper also covers my analysis of tobacco sales law violations data and a market suitability evaluation I performed for the WDPH.





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