Citizen science on park accessibility and park visitation among older adults

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2024
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Environmental health and safety
    • Health promotion and policy
    • Preventive medicine
    • Elderly care
  • Engineering and technology
    • Transport planning
Park refurbishment Healthy cities Environmental attributes
Project description

Providing healthy cities for all is a major challenge for policy makers worldwide, especially in the context of massive urbanization and rapidly ageing populations. High quality urban parks could become an important aspect in creating healthy cities for older adults; since parks can positively impact the physical, mental and social health of their users. Unfortunately, older adults currently rarely visit parks. It is therefore important to investigate how to increase park accessibility and park visitation among this group. The purpose of this project is to conduct participatory research with older adults using innovative technologies to identify modifiable environmental attributes of parks that older adults consider important for park accessibility and park visitation. First, critical modifiable park attributes will be identified by older adults using an online interactive map. Second, the ‘Discovery tool’ app will enable older adults to take geo-encoded photographs of environmental attributes on their way to and in the park, and to comment on how these environmental attributes influence their park visit. Third, as actual changes to parks are costly and may have unanticipated side-effects, a virtual reality experiment will examine the effects of changes in critical park attributes on park accessibility and park attractiveness in older adults. The results will inform park planners on best practices to (re-)design parks in order to effectively increase older adults’ park use.