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Inequitable walking conditions among older people: examining the interrelationship of neighbourhood socio-economic status and urban form using a comparative case study.

Grant TL, Edwards N, Sveistrup H, Andrew C, Egan M - BMC Public Health (2010)

Bottom Line: Older people in lower SES neighbourhoods were more affected by traffic hazards and more reliant on public transit compared to their higher SES counterparts.Future research on walking must consider urban form-SES inter-relationships and further examine the equitable distribution of walking conditions as well as the socio-political processes driving these conditions.There is a need for municipal governments to monitor differences in walking conditions among higher and lower SES neighbourhoods, to be receptive to the needs of lower SES neighbourhood and to ensure that policy decisions are taken to address inequitable walking conditions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, 1 Stewart St, Room 300, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. tgran084@uottawa.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Supportive neighbourhood walking conditions are particularly important for older people as they age and who, as a group, prefer walking as a form of physical activity. Urban form and socio-economic status (SES) can influence neighbourhood walking behaviour. The objectives of this study were: a) to examine how urban form and neighbourhood SES inter-relate to affect the experiences of older people who walk in their neighbourhoods; b) to examine differences among neighbourhood stakeholder key informant perspectives on socio-political processes that shape the walkability of neighbourhood environments.

Methods: An embedded comparative case study examined differences among four Ottawa neighbourhoods that were purposefully selected to provide contrasts on urban form (inner-urban versus suburban) and SES (higher versus lower). Qualitative data collected from 75 older walkers and 19 neighbourhood key informants, as well as quantitative indicators were compared on the two axes of urban form and SES among the four neighbourhoods.

Results and discussion: Examining the inter-relationship of neighbourhood SES and urban form characteristics on older people's walking experiences indicated that urban form differences were accentuated positively in higher SES neighbourhoods and negatively in lower SES neighbourhoods. Older people in lower SES neighbourhoods were more affected by traffic hazards and more reliant on public transit compared to their higher SES counterparts. In higher SES neighbourhoods the disadvantages of traffic in the inner-urban neighbourhood and lack of commercial destinations in the suburban neighbourhood were partially offset by other factors including neighbourhood aesthetics. Key informant descriptions of the socio-political process highlighted how lower SES neighbourhoods may face greater challenges in creating walkable places. These differences pertained to the size of neighbourhood associations, relationships with political representatives, accessing information and salient neighbourhood association issues. Findings provide evidence of inequitable walking environments.

Conclusion: Future research on walking must consider urban form-SES inter-relationships and further examine the equitable distribution of walking conditions as well as the socio-political processes driving these conditions. There is a need for municipal governments to monitor differences in walking conditions among higher and lower SES neighbourhoods, to be receptive to the needs of lower SES neighbourhood and to ensure that policy decisions are taken to address inequitable walking conditions.

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Comparison strategies: Horizontal arrows represent urban form comparisons with attention to how differences may be expressed in low and high SES neighbourhoods. Vertical arrows represent SES comparisons with attention to how differences were expressed in inner-urban and suburban neighbourhoods. These comparisons were made within each of the three data sets.
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Figure 1: Comparison strategies: Horizontal arrows represent urban form comparisons with attention to how differences may be expressed in low and high SES neighbourhoods. Vertical arrows represent SES comparisons with attention to how differences were expressed in inner-urban and suburban neighbourhoods. These comparisons were made within each of the three data sets.

Mentions: Data from the four neighbourhoods were compared using matrices [61]. Content summary forms were used to construct question- and category-oriented matrices. Conceptually-oriented matrices were constructed based on the findings of phase one and phase two. Differences were further verified using matrices that were specific to subcategories of the broader conceptual dimensions. Figure 1 illustrates the four sets of comparisons that were used to identify differences among the neighbourhoods. These comparisons were made within each of the three data sets using matrices and tables to allow visual display. Figure 1 displays two sets of comparisons made along the urban form axis and two sets of comparisons made along the neighbourhood SES axis. These comparisons permitted an examination of the joint effects of urban form and SES. Looking at how urban form is experienced differently in high and low SES neighbourhoods allowed an exploration of how neighbourhood SES may modify the experience of urban form. Likewise, looking at how the same level of neighbourhood SES may be experienced differently in suburban and inner-urban neighbourhoods allowed an examination of how urban form may modify the experience of neighbourhood SES. Differences identified through qualitative analysis were triangulated with publicly available quantitative indicators.


Inequitable walking conditions among older people: examining the interrelationship of neighbourhood socio-economic status and urban form using a comparative case study.

Grant TL, Edwards N, Sveistrup H, Andrew C, Egan M - BMC Public Health (2010)

Comparison strategies: Horizontal arrows represent urban form comparisons with attention to how differences may be expressed in low and high SES neighbourhoods. Vertical arrows represent SES comparisons with attention to how differences were expressed in inner-urban and suburban neighbourhoods. These comparisons were made within each of the three data sets.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2992515&req=5

Figure 1: Comparison strategies: Horizontal arrows represent urban form comparisons with attention to how differences may be expressed in low and high SES neighbourhoods. Vertical arrows represent SES comparisons with attention to how differences were expressed in inner-urban and suburban neighbourhoods. These comparisons were made within each of the three data sets.
Mentions: Data from the four neighbourhoods were compared using matrices [61]. Content summary forms were used to construct question- and category-oriented matrices. Conceptually-oriented matrices were constructed based on the findings of phase one and phase two. Differences were further verified using matrices that were specific to subcategories of the broader conceptual dimensions. Figure 1 illustrates the four sets of comparisons that were used to identify differences among the neighbourhoods. These comparisons were made within each of the three data sets using matrices and tables to allow visual display. Figure 1 displays two sets of comparisons made along the urban form axis and two sets of comparisons made along the neighbourhood SES axis. These comparisons permitted an examination of the joint effects of urban form and SES. Looking at how urban form is experienced differently in high and low SES neighbourhoods allowed an exploration of how neighbourhood SES may modify the experience of urban form. Likewise, looking at how the same level of neighbourhood SES may be experienced differently in suburban and inner-urban neighbourhoods allowed an examination of how urban form may modify the experience of neighbourhood SES. Differences identified through qualitative analysis were triangulated with publicly available quantitative indicators.

Bottom Line: Older people in lower SES neighbourhoods were more affected by traffic hazards and more reliant on public transit compared to their higher SES counterparts.Future research on walking must consider urban form-SES inter-relationships and further examine the equitable distribution of walking conditions as well as the socio-political processes driving these conditions.There is a need for municipal governments to monitor differences in walking conditions among higher and lower SES neighbourhoods, to be receptive to the needs of lower SES neighbourhood and to ensure that policy decisions are taken to address inequitable walking conditions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, 1 Stewart St, Room 300, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. tgran084@uottawa.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Supportive neighbourhood walking conditions are particularly important for older people as they age and who, as a group, prefer walking as a form of physical activity. Urban form and socio-economic status (SES) can influence neighbourhood walking behaviour. The objectives of this study were: a) to examine how urban form and neighbourhood SES inter-relate to affect the experiences of older people who walk in their neighbourhoods; b) to examine differences among neighbourhood stakeholder key informant perspectives on socio-political processes that shape the walkability of neighbourhood environments.

Methods: An embedded comparative case study examined differences among four Ottawa neighbourhoods that were purposefully selected to provide contrasts on urban form (inner-urban versus suburban) and SES (higher versus lower). Qualitative data collected from 75 older walkers and 19 neighbourhood key informants, as well as quantitative indicators were compared on the two axes of urban form and SES among the four neighbourhoods.

Results and discussion: Examining the inter-relationship of neighbourhood SES and urban form characteristics on older people's walking experiences indicated that urban form differences were accentuated positively in higher SES neighbourhoods and negatively in lower SES neighbourhoods. Older people in lower SES neighbourhoods were more affected by traffic hazards and more reliant on public transit compared to their higher SES counterparts. In higher SES neighbourhoods the disadvantages of traffic in the inner-urban neighbourhood and lack of commercial destinations in the suburban neighbourhood were partially offset by other factors including neighbourhood aesthetics. Key informant descriptions of the socio-political process highlighted how lower SES neighbourhoods may face greater challenges in creating walkable places. These differences pertained to the size of neighbourhood associations, relationships with political representatives, accessing information and salient neighbourhood association issues. Findings provide evidence of inequitable walking environments.

Conclusion: Future research on walking must consider urban form-SES inter-relationships and further examine the equitable distribution of walking conditions as well as the socio-political processes driving these conditions. There is a need for municipal governments to monitor differences in walking conditions among higher and lower SES neighbourhoods, to be receptive to the needs of lower SES neighbourhood and to ensure that policy decisions are taken to address inequitable walking conditions.

Show MeSH