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In Frontiers in public health

In late 2019, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic soundlessly slinked in and swept the world, exerting a tremendous impact on lifestyles. This study investigated changes in the infection rates of COVID-19 and the urban built environment in 45 areas in Manhattan, New York, and the relationship between the factors of the urban built environment and COVID-19. COVID-19 was used as the outcome variable, which represents the situation under normal conditions vs. non-pharmacological intervention (NPI), to analyze the macroscopic (macro) and microscopic (micro) factors of the urban built environment. Computer vision was introduced to quantify the material space of urban places from street-level panoramic images of the urban streetscape. The study then extracted the microscopic factors of the urban built environment. The micro factors were composed of two parts. The first was the urban level, which was composed of urban buildings, Panoramic View Green View Index, roads, the sky, and buildings (walls). The second was the streets' green structure, which consisted of macrophanerophyte, bush, and grass. The macro factors comprised population density, traffic, and points of interest. This study analyzed correlations from multiple levels using linear regression models. It also effectively explored the relationship between the urban built environment and COVID-19 transmission and the mechanism of its influence from multiple perspectives.

Zhang Longhao, Han Xin, Wu Jun, Wang Lei


COVID-19, computer vision, deep learning, relevance, street view images, urban built environment