Socially Sustainable Suburbia: Linking Neighbourhood Characteristics to Health Outcomes in an Ageing Population

By Graham John Brewer, Lynne Parkinson, Chris Tucker and Chris Landorf.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

With populations ageing across the developed world, there is increasing interest in the impact of the urban environment on the capacity of people to age in place. This is a significant issue not only for the quality of life of older people but also for the longer-term sustainability of cities and neighbourhoods. This paper presents findings from a cross-disciplinary pilot research study that addresses the link between health in older Australians and urban sustainability. The paper details a unique neighbourhood assessment method that explores associations between subjective and objective measures of neighbourhood characteristics and health for community dwelling people aged 55 years and over. The results reveal that health is a major pre-occupation for the study group but social interaction and the built environment are major influences on quality of life. It is anticipated that the pilot study will lead to the development of guidelines for the design of sustainable urban environments that respond to the health needs of an increasingly diverse ageing population.

Keywords: Ageing in Place, Urban Design, Health in Later Life

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.1-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.384MB).

Assoc. Prof. Graham John Brewer

Head of Discipline: Building, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Associate Professor Graham John Brewer is the Head of Discipline Building at the University of Newcastle in Australia. His research interests include ICT, urban sustainability, and teaching and learning. He has written six books dealing with the challenges associated with the use of ICT in project teams operating in the built environment. He has received two teaching awards and has recently completed a PhD, which is in the field of innovation adoption.

Assoc Prof Lynne Parkinson

Senior Research Fellow, Research Centre of Gender, Health, and Ageing, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Professor Parkinson is a population health gerontologist examining impact and management of chronic conditions; encompassing epidemiological, health outcomes, and quality use of medicines research. She is a Professorial Research Fellow within the Health Collaborative Research Network at Central Queensland University, based in Rockhampton, Queensland.

Chris Tucker

Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Dr Chris Landorf

Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Landorf is a Senior Lecturer and a registered architect in the School of Architecture at the University of Queensland, Australia. She holds postgraduate qualifications in business administration, facility management, and sustainable heritage management. While previous Australian Research Council funded research has concentrated on the design of aged care facilities, her more recent academic contributions have focused on social sustainability and the broader urban environment, specifically in relation to the management of complex historic environments.