The association between urban green space quality and older adult outdoor recreation may vary across contrasting community contexts, but few international comparisons have been made. Data on older adult outdoor recreation and the quality of green spaces were collected using established tools in Sydney, Singapore and Dhaka.  

For the attention of: Cities needing to plan for healthier ageing populations, their park authorities and their communities.

The problem: Geographical under-representation of the evidence on the benefits of urban green spaces for the outdoor recreations of the ageing population.

What we did and why: We conducted a comparative study in three geographically and socioeconomically diverse cities.

The aim of this study was to highlight what qualities of urban green spaces are most important for the ageing population and whether those qualities yield have similar benefits in different places.

This study was conducted to add evidence to focus on urban green spaces for promoting better ageing.

What our study adds: We provide a global level comparison of urban green space quality. The study addresses

  • How planned approach of green space planning can make difference
  • How to tackle ‘environmental gentrification’ in a low and middle-income country contexts
Interestingly, the expected association between quality and recreational activity could be different in places where high-quality urban green spaces were abundant.

Implications for city policy and practice: Our findings can help cities to

  • Focus on vitalizing/revitalizing small green spaces within neighbourhood
  • Enhance ageing relevant quality of the neighbourhood green spaces.

We found that higher quality green space was associated both with more sedentary activity and more walking after adjusting for differences between cities. Vigorous recreational activities were more common in parks scoring more favourably on accessibility, safety and landscape quality.

Links to other resources and support:

Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab at University of Wollongong

Full research article: Urban green space quality and older adult recreation: an international comparison

Authors: Faysal Kabir Shuvo (@FaysalShuvo6), Xiaoqi Feng and Thomas Astell-Burt

Editor: Marcus Grant