Planning for an ageing population: links between social health, neighbourhood environment and the elderly

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Alidoust, Sara
Bosman, Caryl
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2015
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Abstract

Australia's population is ageing, and a key question is how can people remain socially active as they grow older? To answer this question, this paper offers a critical review of the literature looking at the mechanisms through which an urban neighbourhood environment can influence social life, an important component of social health. The aim of this review is to develop a general framework that can be applied to the studies on the social health of the elderly. The framework illustrates the main elements that potentially promote social life, namely: a safe, accessible, walkable and relatively dense neighbourhood in addition to green spaces, third places, soft edges and streets. This framework is then applied to a small case study, looking particularly at the social life of the elderly and how it can be supported by the physical urban neighbourhood environment. Data are collected by conducting in-depth interviews with 19 elderly residents (aged 65 years and over) in a neighbourhood located in the city of Gold Coast, Queensland. The results from this study demonstrate the importance of neighbourhood design in the social life of the elderly, interviewed. The study also identifies some of the key barriers to the elderly's social interaction.

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Australian Planner

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Urban and regional planning

Urban and regional planning not elsewhere classified

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