Spatial justice and planning a walkable city: addressing barriers for older people’s walkability

Yusof, Naeemah (2023). Spatial justice and planning a walkable city: addressing barriers for older people’s walkability. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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For ageing communities, a walkable city is vital to support their physical activities and social inclusion. Older people’s rights to participate in urban space include rights to access the city centre. Redevelopment of city centres triggers a call to examine spatial justice for older people. The study focuses on Birmingham City Centre for two reasons that may overlook older people’s rights and needs; 1) As the second-largest city in the
UK, Birmingham is one of the most diverse and youthful populations, and 2) the city centre of Birmingham has changed rapidly from a Victorian industrial city towards a city that promotes cultural and business tourism and a revitalised public realm. This study conducted four focus groups and 45 semi-structured interviews with older people, and 11 semi-structured interviews with the practitioner and policy professionals, as well as
analysis of key strategy documents, to explore the extent to which the redeveloped city centre of Birmingham embodies a walkable environment and spatial justice for older people. The empirical evidence reveals that older people found topography, physical barriers in walking paths, feeling unsafe and other people’s behaviour as barriers to walking in Birmingham City Centre. The physical attributes of walkable cities as understood by older people and practitioners and expressed in Birmingham’s strategy largely corresponded, but older people gave more emphasis to social dimensions. In addition, there was a gap between the vision and the on the ground reality as experienced by older people in Birmingham, due to implementation challenges. There was also some sign of ambivalence among practitioners in relation to older people’s need to access the
city centre. The study considers the extent to which the planned walkable environment in Birmingham City Centre embodies spatial justice for older people, and recommendation to planners and policymakers are made.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS)
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)


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