Preferences of older people for environmental attributes of local parks: The use of choice-based conjoint analysis

Susana Alves, Peter A. Aspinall, Catharine Ward Thompson, Takemi Sugiyama, Roger Brice, Adrian Vickers

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    83 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - This study aims to examine the environmental attributes relevant to older people's preferences for neighbourhood open spaces. It also aims to explore the association between the relative importance of different environmental attributes and personal and social characteristics in a sample of older people covering a range of geographic locations in the UK. Design/methodology/approach - Choice-based conjoint analysis (CBC) was used to obtain responses from a sample of 237 older people (60 years +) living in the UK. A total of 13 environmental attributes were identified from earlier qualitative and quantitative studies. Participants were asked to choose a preferred park from a pair of hypothetical neighbourhood parks differing on four of the attributes presented in a questionnaire. The questionnaire included 14 such tasks. Findings - The results suggest that older people preferred a neighbourhood park which is without nuisance, has cafes and toilets, many trees and plants, light traffic en route, wildlife to watch, and is well maintained. Analyses also reveal that whether or not people live alone, and their functional capabilities in getting around, make a difference in the way they place importance on attributes. Practical implications - The findings can assist those involved in designing and managing outdoor environments to identify salient environmental attributes and prioritise interventions aimed at improving access to, and use of, outdoor spaces for older adults. The approach aids understanding of what is likely to maximise preference and use of open spaces in different segments of the older population. Originality/value - Conjoint analysis procedures are some of the best tools available for determining importance or relative value of attributes of complex environments from the user point of view. The CBC analysis has been employed for the first time in this study to explore the relative importance of such attributes of open spaces for older adults. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)433-453
    Number of pages21
    Issue number11-12
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Elderly people
    • Leisure activities
    • Open spaces
    • United Kingdom


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