Spatial Measurement of Mobility Barriers: Improving the Environment of Community-Dwelling Older Adults in Taiwan

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Yen-Jong Chen
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Rodney H. Matsuoka
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Kun-Cheng Tsai
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Mobility barriers can impede physical activity, increase the fear of falling, and pose a threat to the ability of older adults to live independently. This study investigated outdoor mobility barriers within a nonretirement public housing community located in Tainan, Taiwan. Site observations and interviews with older adult residents determined that parked motor scooters, potted plants, the rubber tiles of play areas, and a set of steps were the most important barriers. In addition, the space syntax parameters of control value and mean depth were effectively able to quantitatively measure improvements in walkability resulting from the hypothesized removal of these four barriers. These measures of improved walkability can be included in a cost-benefit analysis of spatial improvement factors to help policymakers address the mobility and accessibility needs of older adults.

Chen and Matsuoka are with the Department of Urban Planning, Research Center for Energy Technology and Strategy, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan. Tsai is with the Department of Urban Planning, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan. Address author correspondence to Yen-Jong Chen at yj_chen@mail.ncku.edu.tw.

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