When I was still living in Fairfield, California, one day my sons and I drove around and talked about our observations concerning air quality and economic success of various shopping areas. For example, we noted that at Travis Blvd, on the "upwind" side of the 8 lanes of interstate, the mall was doing fairly well, as were other shopping centers behind the mall on Gateway Blvd.
On the same road but on the "downwind" side of the interstate, there were shopping centers which were doing very poorly. On that side, there is an exit from the interstate where there is absolutely no protection from the exhaust on the interstate. It is a straight line of sight to the interstate, with no bushes or other barriers, and no change in elevations. The trees lining Oliver Dr. are dying. The "cup"-shaped shopping center facing Oliver seems to catch all the exhaust fumes coming off the interstate (note the red arrows I added). The anchor store (red X) had recently closed on the day we took our drive. Other shopping centers on that side of the interstate seem to have never been full up or otherwise seem to be doing rather poorly.
Given our respiratory problems, we were acutely aware of the desire to flee that area as quickly as possible. We figure other people may not be as aware of their reasons but will also be disinclined to linger in a shopping center with serious air-quality or other environmental problems, even if they don't really know why. So we felt that the connection between the toxic environment and the failing economic health of the area was pretty obvious. It is something I have noted in other places as well. In the city where I currently reside, I tend to drive a fair distance to newer shopping areas in large part because I can breathe there. This city seems to be experiencing a kind of pattern of "rotting", where development is moving inexorably away from areas with poorer environmental quality and towards cleaner areas of town.
Since that day when my sons and I drove around Fairfield to many different places noting this correlation (including Costco, Highway 12, and other areas), I have wondered if anyone else had particularly noted this trend and if there were any studies on the relationship between environmental health and economic health. I know it is a well-established fact that socio-economically disadvantaged areas tend to get NIMBY projects dumped on them which are bad for the physical health of nearby residents. This is an issue that gets discussed under the umbrella of "social justice" at times. But I cannot recall hearing any explicit relationship cited running in the other direction: that poor environmental health can cause economic failure.