Research on the Interaction between Ageing People and Urban Open Spaces

By: Youmei Zhou  

The local environment of urban open spaces around communities contributes to the well-being of residents, especially the retired. Many barriers surround aging people: youth-oriented society, physical isolation, shifting social values, sensory losses, diminished power, and retirement, hindering them from affiliation and interaction with others. Open spaces provide exercise and aesthetic needs, and social connections which comfort them from loneliness linked closely to psychological well-being. There are two questions: Which elements of the interaction relationship principle directly impact people, restoring an aging-friendly environment benefiting the elderly emotional fulfillment and well-being? In this paper, the effective relationship has been explored through a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews with the elderly (N=418) in 5 neighborhood park in Chaoyang district Beijing. This research is using Goodman and Kruskal's gamma with indicated good performance to measure the associations in a quantitative approach and identify the limitations and drives by qualitative analysis. However, there are two main findings in this research: firstly, the significant correlations between the features related to the social isolation of the elderly and their emotional bonding with neighborhood parks, which is positive significantly correlated with self-evaluated quality of life and mental health. Secondly, loneliness, the feeling of useless, and fearless have significantly strong correlations with each other and shows the positively promoting effect of people engaging in group activities approaching to self-esteem, self-identity and social psychological satisfaction.

Aging people, Emotional fulfillment, Well-being, Neighborhood park, Goodman-Kruskal gamma
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Youmei Zhou

PhD, Landscape, the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
United Kingdom