Is environmental quality the reason for migration outside big cities?

SUDPLAN Newsletter 1 (December 2010): The objective of the SUDPLAN Czech Pilot is to check the hypothesis whether the state of the environment may influence migration of population from the Capitol City of Prague to adjacent districts in the future.

Air quality has been selected as an indicator of the state of the environment for the first phase of the pilot. Air quality projections for the area of interest (square 100 x 100 km around Prague) which are not available in the Czech Republic are being developed with support of Common Services of the SUDPLAN project.

Example from emission database

Geographical distribution of NOx emissions from road traffic and major point sources. Total emission: 38 600 tons/year. Enlarge Image

As a first step, emission data for stationary air pollution sources in the area of interest as well as activity data (road network, traffic intensities, fuel consumption) for calculation of emissions from mobile sources have been collected , re-formatted and uploaded to the SMHI Airviro emission database. Example of the data is presented in the following figure to the left.

Having the emissions available, concentrations of main pollutants (suspended particulate matter PM10, PM2.5, ground-level ozone and nitrogen dioxide will be calculated using the SMHI MATCH chemical transport model and compared with real data from monitoring stations operated in the area of interest. In the case of reasonable difference between calculated and real data, the model system will be ready for the development of air quality projections.

Demographic data on migration

In parallel, demographic data on migration into/outside Prague and other relevant information have been analyzed. Recent opinion poll has indicated that more than one third of Prague residents is thinking about moving from Prague. From this total, 30 % presents the reason of environmental quality in general and 12 % the reason of air quality.

As a part of the next pilot phase, the specialized opinion poll will be carried out to get more detailed information on reasons for potential migration and its results will be confronted with air quality projections. In addition, other environmental indicator will be considered (hydrology).