10454 & 10451

Mott Haven and Melrose, Bronx

It is no accident that residents of segregated communities of color in the US are more likely to live in some of the most polluted environments. A 2014 study found that whites and non-whites are literally breathing different quality air, with people of color exposed to 38% higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant associated with asthma. This is a direct legacy of redlining. 


In NYC, residents of historically redlined neighborhoods are much more likely to go to the emergency room for asthma than residents of “low-risk” areas. Nationally, 1 in 11 children suffers from asthma. But in parts of the formerly redlined sections of the South Bronx, Harlem, and a section of Brooklyn known as “asthma alley,” the rate is closer to 1 in 4


In Mott Haven and Melrose, in the South Bronx, the rate for child asthma emergency department visits is 647 out of every 10,000 children aged 5 to 14. By comparison, the rate in the Financial District is 28 out of 10,000. In Mott Haven and Melrose, 73% of the population is Latino and 24% is black. 29% of residents live below the poverty line. 


Four expressways run through or near the South Bronx, and the area contains waste transfer stations that handle close to 30% of NYC’s trash. In these neighborhoods, it is clear that asthma, segregation, urban renewal, and environmental racism go hand in hand. 

Child Asthma EmergencyDepartment Visits 





United Nations International School

24-50 FDR Drive

New York, NY


Abby MacPhail

Project Organizer