GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (7): 1625-1639.doi: 10.11821/dlyj020180292

• Everyday Life Geography and Urban-Rural Leisure • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The impact of built environment on well-being of older adults under different geographic contexts

Suhong ZHOU1,2,3(), Yinong PENG1, Lin LIU4,5, Rongping LIN1, Chunxia ZHANG6   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, SunYat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center for Public Security and Disaster, Guangzhou 510275, China
    3. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
    4. Center of GeoInformatics for Public Security, School of Geographic Sciences, Guangzhou University,Guangzhou 510006, China
    5. Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH45221-0131, Ohio, USA
    6. Guangdong Engineering Polytechnic, Guangzhou 510520, China
  • Received:2018-03-22 Revised:2019-05-23 Online:2019-07-20 Published:2019-07-12


Impact of built environment on older adults’ health has become a hot topic in aging geography research field. As a kind of subjective perception, well-being is influenced much by environment factors. However, bias exists when built environment’s impact on well-being is analysed only under the context of residential neighbourhood. According to the theory of uncertain geographic context problem, the built environment in daily activity space also affects individual’s well-being, not only environment around neighbourhood. For further understanding of the relationship of built environment and well-being, the article discusses the spatial temporal pattern of older people’s daily activity and the characteristic of built environment in different geographic contexts using 2016 survey of Guangzhou older adults. It is indicated that daily trajectories differ among older adults in different health statuses. What’s more, the environment they exposed are totally different as well. Therefore, Logistic regression model is used to analyse different health effects of built environment under separating geographic contexts. It is indicated that built environment affects well-being under all kinds of the geographic contexts, while the built environment of residential neighbourhood and daily activity space influences well-being to the largest extent. Besides, built environment factors in the place of maintenance activity and the place of recreation activity daily activity space have relation with well-being as well. To be more specific, the health effect of built environment like the density of bus stops, the density of green space and the density of intersections varies with geography contexts due to different activity durations, frequencies and purposes under different geographic contexts. The research verifies that built environment influences well-being not only in residential neighbourhood and reveals that geographic context difference exists while we analyse the health effect of built environment. What’s more, the relationship of built environment factors and older adults’ well-being under different geography contexts is also summarized. The conclusion supplements the research of spatial temporal behaviour from the perspective of daily activity and helps to enhance the understanding of built environment’s health effect. It offers a scientific support to the construction of aging liveable city and the provision of active aging health service.

Key words: uncertain geographic context problem, older adults, well-being, built environment, daily activity