Assessing the impact of the built environment on healthy aging: A gender-oriented Hong Kong study

Shuangzhou Chen, Zhikang Bao*, Vivian Lou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The built environment is widely perceived as crucial in promoting the public health of older adults. Consequently, recent years have seen substantial efforts to explore linear relationships of the built environment on functional ability, a widely adopted indicator for public health of older adults. However, relevant studies highlighting the non-linear relationships and gender differences of older adults are lacking, posing potential challenges to governments for policymaking of building a sustainable and age-friendly society. Thus, this study aims to investigate non-linear relationships between the built environment (distance to transit, design, destination accessibility, density, and diversity) and functional ability of older adults by employing an ecological model of aging for a sample size of 1112 participants aged 60 and above in a typical aging Chinese society of Hong Kong with a specific emphasis on gender differences. Results reveal that non-linear relationships between the built environment and functional ability of older adults generally exist in both gender groups. However, gender differences are also distinctively found regarding the effects of the built environment on the functional ability of older adults. Males' functional ability has been improved with services (≤ 30), road lengths (≥ 6 km), bus stop (≤ 50), population density (≤ 23,000 person/km2), diverse land-use entropy index (≥ 0.4), shorter distances to the nearest hospital (≤ 1.2 km), and a closer MTR station (≤ 500 m). In comparison, females' functional ability has been improved with specific ranges of road lengths (≤ 4 or ≥ 6 km), services (≤ 30), greenery exposure (0.05 to 0.2 or ≥ 0.25), and distances to the nearest MTR (≤ 800 m). This study provides a valuable reference for various governments to implement targeted gender-based urban planning to facilitate healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106812
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume95
Early online date26 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Built environment
  • Gender differences
  • Health impact assessment
  • Hong Kong
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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