Optimising urban environments to promote active and healthy ageing using a citizen science approach

Wood, Grace Emily Rachel ORCID: 0000-0003-2622-2501 (2023). Optimising urban environments to promote active and healthy ageing using a citizen science approach. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (40MB) | Preview


As urbanization and population ageing continue to simultaneously occur, considering the ways in which urban environments can be optimised to support older adults and promote their active and healthy ageing is crucial. Across the public health and age-friendly cities (AFC) literature, it has become clear that actively engaging older adults in their local urban contexts can contribute to this, embedding their local-level and place-based needs within urban initiatives. The aim of this thesis was to engage older adults and community stakeholders through a citizen science (CS) approach in order to explore how urban environments can be optimised to promote active and healthy ageing. To inform the CS approach, a systematic scoping review was undertaken and identified urban barriers and facilitators across the global context of public health literature engaging older adults in urban environments. This review elucidated further areas across neighbourhood changes and migrant and cross-cultural communities that require extension within the age-friendly agenda. The Citizen Science Appraisal Tool (CSAT) was also developed as part of the systematic scoping review. The CSAT demonstrated ways in which CS best practices can be utilised within CS research to actively engage older adults and develop good quality CS research for public health. The CS study followed, employing four stages with older adults (N = 17; Mean Age = 72.4 (SD 7.5); Female = 11) and community stakeholders (N = 22; Female = 13). This study included a preliminary citizen social science (CSS) study, bringing together older adults community stakeholders in online discussions. The outcomes of this stage presented a collective social framing of active and healthy ageing, alongside organic connections, solution-building and potential network-building emerging. The following three stages of the CS study, informed by the Our Voice CS for health equity approach, engaged older adults to collect and interpret their own data. This included Discovery Tool walks and discussion groups, followed by advocating their findings to community stakeholders during workshops. The outcomes presented contributions to the age-friendly, public health and urban planning literature through six co-produced city-wide recommendations for optimising physical social elements across the city of Birmingham. Encompassing these recommendations in a social-ecological systems (SES) approach demonstrated their interconnectedness across different urban social-ecological domains. The SES approach demonstrated the value for bringing these urban recommendations, domains and disciplines together through a ‘whole’ systems view to effectively implement age-friendly changes. An implementation framework for actioning the age-friendly agenda across the city of Birmingham was also developed.
This framework identified how bottom-up and top-down approaches can centre on collaborative actions, presenting a middle ground that brings together older adults needs with the resources and support of stakeholders. This framework presents a transferable tool that can be utilised across other studies strengthening the age-friendly agenda. Overall, this thesis presents a demonstratable case of actively engaging older adults and community stakeholders through CSS and CS to understand their experiences and place-based needs in urban environments. This included embedding the voice of older adults into co-produced recommendations for optimising urban environments, having potential to maximise the impact of urban initiatives that target active and healthy ageing. This in turn addresses the current challenge that decision-makers face when trying to understand the determinants to alter or enhance in urban environments when promoting active and healthy ageing.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Stathi, AfroditiUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0003-2162-777X
Pykett, JessicaUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0002-0036-9639
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: Other
Other Funders: University of Birmingham
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13365


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year