Kevin Lau from the Chinese University of Hong Kong describes his latest research from Hong Kong on mapping built environmental factors associated with depression in older people.
The health and well-being of citizens is strongly associated with the living quality of the high-density urban environment, for example: crowdedness, compactness, pollution, and urban heat islands. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable as their mental health can be less resilient. We therefore need to know how our built environment affects the health and wellness of elderly people so that we can provide a better living environment for promoting active ageing in our society.
Photo from South China Morning Post - read full article
CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing was established in 2014 and has been working towards making Hong Kong a global age-friendly city. We have been working on how the built environment affects mortality, geriatric depression, frailty and cognitive function. Based on a large-scale cohort study started in 2001, we obtained a wide variety of health outcomes for our research studies.
For urban designers, it is important to identify the features of our built environment that affect the health and well-being of elderly people so that we can design better living spaces for them to age healthily. We identified high risk areas for geriatric depression in Hong Kong based on the results of statistical modeling and spatial mapping.
The results of this research in brief
We found that areas experiencing rapid redevelopment have the highest association with risk of depression in older people because of the vastly changing physical and social landscape. The changing building form is associated with changes in the composition of community amenities and social environment.
Planning and design of future development will have to take into account such changes and prevent the deterioration of living quality of elderly people.
Read the full research study here: Spatial Variability of Geriatric Depression Risk in a High-Density City: A Data-Driven Socio-Environmental Vulnerability Mapping Approach
Read a South China Post article about designing an age-friendly Hong Kong.
About the Author
Sanity and Urbanity: