The Impacts of Urban Environment Aspects on The Life Satisfaction of Older Adults
Keywords:age-friendly, ageing population, life satisfaction, space syntax
Ageing comes with several discomforts such as decline in mobility and losses in social networks as well as societal roles. Therefore, improving the life satisfaction of older adults have become a significant policy focus for delivering age-friendliness in national and international movements in the living environment. The hypothesis of the current study is that older people, who live in urban neighbourhoods that provide safe, aesthetic and accessible environments, experience greater life satisfaction. Accessibility, attractiveness and attachment as the three key dimensions of the life satisfaction were used to understand the key aspects of the life satisfaction of older people in the neighbourhoods and how the urban environment serves as an indicator. This research consists of two steps. First step involved in-depth interviews with the older adults aged over 65 in the different urban areas, the district of Fatih and Şişli in the city of Istanbul, Turkey, with sampling based on the diversity, the heterogeneity and the urban functions. Second, these urban areas were analysed using space syntax to understand the street network and connectivity to reveal the urban structure. The qualitative and quantitative findings were analysed comparatively. The study concluded that when attachment to the place is supported by the walkability and the psychical enticing, the older adults experience higher level of life satisfaction. Additionally, financial independence serves as a backup solution to access to the better environment. This comparative analysis also highlights a mixed method for policy makers to analyse urban environment and makes room for older adults to raise their voice and participate in the policy and planning process.
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