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Bali Medical Journal (Bali Med J) 2018, Volume 7, Number 3: 544-549
P-ISSN.2089-1180, E-ISSN.2302-2914
544 Open access: and
Published by DiscoverSys
Background: The population of Iran is rapidly aging, and there is no
specific housing policy and urban space planning for the elderly. It is
vital and necessary to consider urban space and residential environment
in order to meet elderly’s different needs, preferences, desires, and
aspirations to maintain and improve their quality of life (QOL).
Aim: This study aims to evaluate the aging urban space and residential
preference because urban space situation influences the residential
satisfaction that leads to the quality of life.
Methods: In this study, 400 old adults residing in Karaj, Iran were
surveyed. Independent sample t-test was used to examine the
relationship between socio-demographic factors and urban space
Results: There are no differences among genders for urban space
preferences, but there are differences in marital status for urban space
preferences among elderlies in Karaj, Iran. The results also showed that
most participants emphasized Convenience, Accessibility followed by
Safety, and Citizen Participation.
Conclusion: Marital status was found to play a significant role in
urban space preferences.
Keywords: residential preferences, aging, urban space, Karaj, Iran.
Cite This Article: Fallahi,B., Momtaz, Y.A. 2018. The relationship between gender and marital status and urban space preferences among elderlies
in Karaj, Iran. Bali Medical Journal 7(3): 544-549. DOI:10.15562/bmj.v7i3.1183
Urban Space Preferences among Older Adults
from a Sociodemographic Perspective
Bahare Fallahi,1 Yadollah Abolfathi Momtaz2*
Nowadays, some mechanisms are oered in many
countries to promote the elderly’s quality of life
(QOL). An important factor aecting the QOL is
an urban area. According to Akbari Neisiani, etal.
(2016), the aging preferences of urban space are
dierent from the others because of mental and
physical problems.1 e development of policies
and strategies, which considers aging requirements
and desires, can improve QOL.2 e elderly are also
dependent on the amenities available in the urban
space. Neighborhood facilities and services in
urban space are vital and important for this group.
Moreover, supportive urban space for welfare
for all age groups is an area priority in the World
Health Organizations (WHO) strategy for welfare
in Europe.3 Make sure a “better fit” amongst aging
inhabitants and urban spaces is recognized as an
issue of earnestness in the interior social policy, a
significant policy for local action on health equity,
and a key matter for the inclusive, sustainable urban
planning.4 A growing body of study is showing the
influence of the neighborhood and urban space on
elderly health, activity, and welfare.5,6 e signifi-
cant dimensions and structures, and more generally,
how to conceptualize and implement age-friendly
societies,7,8 are nonetheless a subject of debate.
A recently important section is the formation of
walkable public areas and actively living societies.9
Growing evidence on the significance of social and
physical neighborhood variables for the elderly’s
participation and QOL10,11 emphasizes the advan-
tages of cooperation among the public health and
urban planning to design the environment support-
ing the people of all ages and abilities.
Tan (2012) claimed that selecting a place is a
multidimensional exercise comprising neighbor-
hoods and locations, so neighborhood preferences
are determined by several features.12,13 e prefer-
ences might be considered dierent factors such as
the access to neighborhood facilities and the quality
of the natural environment.14 In addition, urban
area preferences refer to residents’ overall assess-
ment of their neighborhood and environment.15
Rojo Perez etal. in their article “Ageing in place:
predictors of the elderly’s residential satisfaction
have shown the impact of neighborhood on the
elderly’s satisfaction in Madrid and indicated that
satisfaction influenced the street conditions and
tracked works.16 In a sample of aging U.S citizens,
the results showed that certain urban characteristics
such as safety, quietness, cleanliness, and proximity
to amenities were found to be connected to urban
space satisfaction.17 On the contrary, Tan (2011)
stated that the neighborhood facilities such as being
close to the hospital and sports centers have an
insignificant relationship with the elderly’s urban
1Ph.D. Housing Policy, University of
Putra, Malaysia
2Iranian Research Center on
Aging, University of Social Welfare
and Rehabilitation, Tehran, Iran/
Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor,
*Correspondence to:
Yadollah Abolfathi Momtaz,
Iranian Research Center on Aging,
University of Social Welfare and
Rehabilitation, Tehran, Iran/
Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor,
Received: 2018-05-14
Accepted: 2018-5-21
Published: 2018-8-1
Volume No.: 7
Issue: 3
First page No.: 544
Published by DiscoverSys | Bali Med J 2018; 7(3): 544-549 | doi: 10.15562/bmj.v7i3.1183
space satisfaction.18 In Greenville, North Carolina,
findings revealed that the crime rate in urban area
influences the residential satisfaction.15 A similar
finding was reported by Rashid in Iraq who found
that people select the neighborhood with respect to
security, neighborhood facilities and social envi-
ronment significantly related to their level of urban
space satisfaction.19 In an aging sample, the impact
of urban space on satisfaction was studied. e
results indicated that security and access to green
areas were related to aging urban space satisfac-
tion.20 Ge and Hokao (2006) conducted a study to
examine the residential preferences in Japan. ey
found that neighborhood facilities such as access
to shops, public transportations, and sports centers
impact the urban space satisfaction.21
Research methods
is is a quantitative study. e questionnaire
survey provided information on the urban space
preferences variables hypothesized to promote
the residential satisfaction among 400 elderlies in
order to enhance the QOL. e target population is
the elderlies residing in Karaj, Iran. e study iden-
tified elderlies aged 60 and over. For selecting the
sample size, the researcher used Cochran (1977)
proposed using equation to determine the size.22
In this study, convenience sampling was used for
As a data collection tool, the questionnaire is
well accepted within the urban space paradigm.
Multiple questionnaires have been developed
to assess the aging preferences in urban space.
Cross-sectional surveys have been used in several
previous studies to investigate the aging urban
space. Face-to-face interviews were conducted.
is allowed for increased response rate and the
inclusion of elderlies with limited access to the
Internet or limited ability to read or write. e
questionnaire was modified from previous studies,
and involved eight variables based on a 5-point
Likert scale; each construct had five items to
measure. e questionnaire was pilot tested among
30 respondents to examine the reliability. All items
showed good reliability values. e variables are as
follows: accessibility, convenience, safety, citizen
participation, vitality and dynamism, culture facil-
ity, control and monitoring, legibility.
e Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
soware (SPSS; Version 16) was used to analyze the
data. is involved two steps:
1. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the
sample characteristics and find patterns in the
2. Independent group’s t-test was used to test the
study hypotheses.
Study area
Alborz Province is one of the 31 Iran’s provinces,
centered inKaraj. Salleh (2008) found that the main
factors determining preferences in urban area are
neighborhood services, safety infrastructure, and
central facilities.23 Hosting a population around
1.96 million, as recorded in the 2011 Census, Karaj
has 110,000 elderlies. It is the fourth-largest city in
Iran, aerTehran,Mashhad, andIsfahan.24
Characteristics of samples
e socioeconomic characteristics of the residents
showed that most of them were married, and the
majority of respondents were males. e majority
had certificates below high school. Furthermore,
the majority was retired (Table 1).
Preference perceived by the elderlies in
Karaj, Iran
In this section, the descriptive data on the level of
urban space preferences amongst the respondents
are presented. Table 2 shows the inhabitants’ pref-
erences, most of which emphasized Convenience
(94%) followed by Safety (92.7%), and Citizen
Participation (92.2%).
H0: ere is no significant relationship between
marital status and urban space preferences.
H0: ere is no significant relationship between
gender and urban space preferences.
Bivariate analyses, independent t-test were
conducted to examine the relationship between
the socio-demographic factors and elderly’s urban
space preferences in Karaj, Iran.
An independent sample t-test was conducted
to compare the urban space preferences between
male and female respondents. As shown in Table3,
there was no significant dierence in terms of
urban space preferences among male and female.
e result showed that there are no dierences
among genders for urban space preferences. us
no significant dierences were found in terms
of the mean scores among the groups. e study
assumed that the population variances are relatively
equal. e t-test significance indicates p> 0.05 and
therefore is not significant. As a result, the null
546 Published by DiscoverSys | Bali Med J 2018; 7(3): 544-549 | doi: 10.15562/bmj.v7i3.1183
hypothesis is accepted and the alternative hypoth-
esis is rejected; for Accessibility p>0.05 =0.870;
Convenience, p > 0.05= 0.45; Safety, p > 0.05=
0.89; Citizen’s Participation, p > 0.05=0.94;
Vitality and Dynamism, p > 0.05=0.187; Legibility,
p> 0.05=0.057; Control and Monitoring,
p>0.05=0.61, Cultural Facility, p>0.05=0.48.
Another independent sample t-test was
conducted to compare the urban space preferences
between married and unmarried respondents
(Table 4).
An independent sample t-test was conducted
to compare the urban space preferences between
unmarried and married respondents. As shown in
Table 4, there was a significant dierence in urban
space preferences between unmarried and married
respondents. us, the result showed that there
are dierences between unmarried and married
respondents in terms of elderly’s urban space pref-
erences in Karaj, Iran. us, a significant dierence
was found in terms of mean scores between the
groups. e t-test significance indicates p≤.05 and
therefore is significant, and the null hypothesis is
rejected and the alternative hypothesis is accepted;
Accessibility p≤.05 =0.021; Convenience p≤.05
=0.007; Safety, p≤.05 = 0.029; Citizen’s Participation,
p≤.05 =0.000; Vitality and Dynamism, p≤.05 =0.002;
Legibility, p≤.05 =0.001; Control and Monitoring,
p≤.05=0.003. ere are dierences between unmar-
ried and married participants in terms of elderly’s
urban space preferences Karaj, Iran. However, for
Culture facility, p> 0.05=0.35 there is no dierence
between unmarried and married participants in this
regard. us, no significant dierences are found in
terms of the mean scores (Table 4).
According to the WHO (2007) model of
age-friendly communities and existing lines of
discussion in aging preferences in urban area,
the present study found that most of the elderlies
emphasized Convenience, Accessibility followed
by Safety and Citizen’s Participation in urban space
which are consistent with the findings by Lu (1999)
and Speare (1974).25,26 ey found that residents
put emphasis on neighborhood characteristics
such as social environment. Similarly, Fang (2006),
Mohit and Azim (2012), Oh (2003), Kauko (2006)
and Wang and Li (2006) stated that neighborhood
facilities and social environment are among the
important factors emphasized by the public and
aect urban space satisfaction.27-31 To support
these findings, a conceptual approach developed
by Speare (1974) and Fredrickson etal. (1980) was
adopted to understand and explain the residential
preferences. ey argued that location and social
bonds are important factors in evaluating a place by
the public and are measured in relation to a person’s
threshold for dissatisfaction.26,32
e results of the independent group t-test
showed that there was no significant dierence in
urban space preferences between male and female.
us, the result showed that there are no dierences
Table 1 Socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents
Demographic characteristics n M SD
Sex Male 212
Female 187
71.82 7.773
Education Secondary 72
Diploma 27
Bachelor 12
Master 4
Primary school 284
Unemployed 19
Retiree 209
Work at Company 34
Self-employed with no workers 120
Self-employed with workers 8
Work for Government 9
Marital Status Single 20
Married 271
Divorced 17
Widowed 87
Separated 4
Table 2 Distribution of urban space preferences
Range value
Low Moderate High
% n % n % n
Accessibility 0.8 3 19.3 77 79.9 319
Convenience 0.5 2 5.5 22 94 375
Safety 0.5 2 6.8 27 92.7 370
Citizens Participation 0.8 3 7 28 92.2 368
Vitality and
Dynamism 0.8 3 12.3 49 87 347
Legibility 1 4 8 32 91 363
Control and
Monitoring 0.5 2 11.3 45 88.2 352
Cultural Facility 8.3 33 25.8 103 65.9 263
Published by DiscoverSys | Bali Med J 2018; 7(3): 544-549 | doi: 10.15562/bmj.v7i3.1183
between both genders in terms of urban space
preferences. No significant dierence was found in
mean scores. e study assumed that the popula-
tion variances were relatively equal. As a result, the
finding revealed no significant dierence in terms
of male and female’s preferences and aspirations in
urban space. erefore, the first hypothesis was not
confirmed. is finding did not support previous
studies which found gender dierences in terms of
urban space preferences among elderlies.33-35
Another independent sample t-test was
conducted to compare the urban space prefer-
ences between married and unmarried respon-
dents. Significant dierences were found in terms
of mean scores among the groups, and the study
assumed that the population variances were not
relatively equal. erefore, the second hypothesis
was confirmed. is finding was consistent with
the findings by Ham and Feijten (2008) who found
a relationship of neighborhood preferences with
the household size and number of children.36 is
result supported residential mobility theory by
Rossi (1955) and Dieleman (2001) which stated
that household size and marital status determine
the choice of a neighborhood.37,38 e increase in
household size might increase the neighborhood
preferences and expectations in the neighborhood
such as preferences to access more facilities and
services. is finding was also parallel with those
recorded by Wang and Li (2004), Gentile ( 2005),
Adelman (2005) and Boehm and Schlottmann
(2006) who stated that socio-demographic charac-
teristics influence the urban space and neighbor-
hood preferences.39-42
is study may provide important insights for
decision-makers to assess priorities during the
implementation process of neighborhood devel-
opments to enhance the elderly’s QOL. In urban
planning, convenience, safety and security, and citi-
zens participation are viewed as a vital element that
influences satisfaction and QOL and is an import-
ant urban planning issue to address.
Since urban space and the factors that might
maintain the residential preferences in Karaj,
Iran was not studied adequately; this study
aimed to determine the relationship between
the socio-demographic factors and urban space
preferences. The findings of this applied study
add to the growing body of literature in the
area of ecological aging person- environment fit.
Marital status was found to play a significant role
in urban space preferences. Our findings high-
light the importance of Convenience followed
by Safety and Citizen’s Participation in urban
space important for the elderlies in urban space.
These preferences create a challenge for natural
resource agencies and policymakers in order to
provide appropriate neighborhood and environ-
ment for the elderlies in the urban areas and wish
Table 3 Mean scores of urban space according to socioeconomic
Variable n P value t SD M
Accessibility Female 187 0.87 0.50 4.92 37.37
Male 212 4.58 37.13
Convenience Female 0.45 -0.37 3.79 38.04
Male 2.93 38.16
Safety Female 0.89 -1.15 1.86 17.05
Male 1.57 17.25
Citizen Participation Female 0.94 0.68 2.06 16.99
Male 1.63 16.86
Vitality and Dynamism Female 0.187 -1.72 1.62 12.52
Male 1.28 12.77
Legibility Female 0.057 -0.06 1.267 8.45
Male 0.949 8.68
Control and Monitoring Female 0.61 -0.67 1.48 12.86
Male 1.27 12.95
Culture Facility Female 0.48 -0.98 3.67 14.80
Male 3.45 15.15
Table 4 Mean scores of urban space preferences according to
socioeconomic factors
Variable n P value t SD M
Accessibility Unmarried 128 0.021 ** 0.89 5.786 37.5859
Married 271 4.15 37.0812
Convenience Unmarried 0.007** -0.983 4.41 37.82
Married 2.72 38.24
Safety Unmarried 0.029 ** -2.66 2.095 16.78
Married 1.47 17.33
Citizens Participation Unmarried 0.000** -2.17 2.44 16.58
Married 1.46 17.08
Vitality and
Unmarried 0.002** -2.63 1.81 12.34
Married 1.23 12.80
Legibility Unmarried 0.001** -3.93 1.42 8.21
Married 0.88 8.75
Control and
Unmarried 0.003** -2.67 1.65 12.6094
Married 1.20 13.0443
Cultural Facility Unmarried 0.35 -0.25 3.79 14.92
Married 3.45 15.02
548 Published by DiscoverSys | Bali Med J 2018; 7(3): 544-549 | doi: 10.15562/bmj.v7i3.1183
to reach out a better serving of these residents.
Survey results can also potentially inform poli-
cymakers by management and improvement of
one’s environment fit. Perhaps current services,
activities, and amenities do not match the elder-
ly’s desires, needs, aspirations, and preferences.
Perhaps there are other structural constraints that
limit the participation. Future study of recreation
preferences among diverse urban populations
can extend these findings by exploring how other
demographic and social factors (e.g., ethnicity)
influence the preferences and behaviors exam-
ined in the present research. To further explore
the role of age in determining urban space pref-
erences and policy decisions, such study could
examine data using a multi-method (i.e., qualita-
tive and quantitative) and longitudinal approach.
As with other studies, there are some limitations on
this research, which might oer opportunities for
future study. e first is the cross-sectional nature
of this research, which prevents the possibility of
drawing conclusions about casual associations
amongst the variables. is research considered
the association amongst socio-demographic factors
and urban space preferences. is study was
conducted among elderlies and only in Karaj, not
in the whole of Iran.
Since this study is one of the very few studies
examining the impact of socio-demographic
factors on urban space preferences among the
elderlies in Karaj, Iran, it might provide oppor-
tunities for future studies. Future studies among
larger samples of elderlies from different coun-
tries and cultures are needed to validate the
results of this study. As little is known about the
ways to promote satisfaction among elderlies,
it is suggested that future studies focus on how
to strengthen satisfaction in urban space and
neighborhood. Since this study was conducted
in a cross-sectional design, a longitudinal study
is required to clarify the causal relationship
between urban space preferences and residential
e authors are thankful to the study participants.
is study was supported by grant No 1358 in
university of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation
Science, Tehran, Iran.
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An increase in the proportion of elderly residents in cities raises the need for increased attention to public open spaces for socialization, outdoor activities, and exercise, universally acknowledged as vital for the mental and physical well-being of the elderly. With a sharp change in its demographic profile towards the aged and aging population since 2011 and a projection for this trend to continue, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in Vietnam is a prime candidate for a well-planned system of age-friendly public open spaces (POS). However, a shortage of space—with an estimated green area of only about 1.36 m2 of land per capita—and other problems, especially in terms of spatial quality that limit the use of the POS by the elderly, this topic is gaining urgency. This paper is an attempt to address this issue. We used first-hand observation and a questionnaire survey in selected POS locations to explore the limitations of public open spaces in HCMC from the perspective of the elderly. Their response shows that although most of them are generally happy with public open spaces, many have considerable concern over issues such as accessibility, proximity, cleanliness, natural condition, security issues, and exercise equipment. We conclude with a set of proposed solutions based on the findings of our study as well as on good practices in other countries as gleaned from the literature.KeywordsPublic open spacesGreen spacesHCMCThe elderly population
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The city is alive with dynamic systems, where parks and urban green spaces have high strategic importance which help to improve living conditions. Urban parks are used as visual landscape with so many benefits such as reducing stress, reducing air pollution and producing oxygen, creating opportunities for people to participate in physical activities, optimal environment for children and decreasing noise pollution. The importance of parks is such extent that are discussed as an indicator of urban development. Hereupon the design and maintenance of urban green spaces requires integrated management system based on international standards of health, safety and the environment. In this study, Nezami Ganjavi Park (District 6 of Tehran) with the approach to integrated management systems have been analyzed. In order to identify the status of the park in terms of the requirements of the management system based on previous studies and all Tehran Municipality’s considerations, a check list has been prepared and completed by park survey and interview with green space experts. The results showed that the utility of health indicators were 92.33 % (the highest) and environmental and safety indicators were 72 %, 84 % respectively. According to SWOT analysis in Nezami Ganjavi Park some of strength points are fire extinguishers, first aid box, annual testing of drinking water and important weakness is using unseparated trash bins also as an opportunities, there are some interesting factors for children and parents to spend free times. Finally, the most important threat is unsuitable park facilities for disabled.
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has always been a central consideration of urban planning. The premise of municipal (upheld by the US Supreme Court under Village of
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Developing environments responsive to the aspirations and needs of older people has become a major concern for social and public policy. This article aims to provide a critical perspective on what has been termed 'age-friendly cities' by shifting the focus from questions such as 'What is an ideal city for older people?' to the question of 'How age-friendly are cities?' This approach, it is argued, might be more suited to deal with the complexities of cities as sites of interlocking and conflicting commercial, social, and political interests. This theme is developed by examining: first, the main factors driving the age-friendly debate; second, constraints and opportunities for older people living in urban environments; third, options for a critical social policy; and, fourth, examples of involving older people in the development of age-friendly environments. The article concludes with a brief summary of current tensions and contradictions in the age-friendly debate.
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Older adults are a large but very inactive population group. Physical activity, especially walking, has many important health benefits for older adults. This review describes the relationship between walking and health and reviews studies investigating the relationship between the built environment, walking, and health in older adults. Important features of community design for older adults are identified and suggestion for impacting walking behavior is made.
Conference Paper
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In recent years international organizations and governments have developed age-friendly community models that incorporate aspects of the natural, built, and social environment and aim to optimize opportunities for well--being in old age. Alongside age-friendly community models, recent empirical studies have investigated neighbourhood effects for older adults and shown evidence that the physical features of the neighbourhood influence older adults’ mobility, social participation, security and health. This paper uses the complementary nature of quantitative and qualitative research to identify the physical characteristics of an age-friendly neighbourhood built environment. To achieve this goal, 10 models and assessment tools of age-friendly communities were identified through literature review and analysed to detect the most recurrently mentioned physical features. These attributes were then compared with empirical research that investigated neighbourhood effects for older adults. Based on the recurring issues, seven categories emerged as consensual physical characteristics of an age-friendly neighbourhood: (1) proximity of destinations; (2) access and transportation; (3) walkability; (4) security; (5) aesthetic quality; (6) mobility within buildings; and (7) housing options. The evidence provides empirical support for an association between living close to destinations and older adults’ walking levels and between neighbourhood walkability and multiple health outcomes. Limited evidence was found for neighbourhood security, transportation options and aesthetics. Mobility within buildings and housing options were not assessed in reviewed empirical studies. Results of qualitative and quantitative studies on the physical characteristics of the neighbourhood that support aging in place should be included in assessments and in urban design recommendations.
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This article aims to ground the relations between culture and housing preferences in a developing city with empirical analysis. Based on Amos Rapoport’s framework, this study dismantles the term “culture” into different components and tests their significance as predictors of housing preferences in Gaza City. Based on 1,269 face-to-face interviews with adults in the city, this study concludes that housing preferences in Gaza are determined by components of culture, mainly those related to issues of gender, politics, religion, kinship, and social relations. The findings revealed that among cultural components, kinship relations and attitudes toward women are likely to be crucial for individual Palestinians seeking new housing. The present study is an attempt to move beyond the grand concept of culture to consider its components and to apply this framework to different cultures.
This paper describes and analyses the geography and structure of the neighborhood residential preferences and residential satisfaction of the inhabitants of the medium-sized, post-Soviet city of Ust'-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan (population ca. 300,000). It is based on a questionnaire survey (N = 1516 + 320) conducted by the author in cooperation with the statistical authority of the Eastern Kazakhstan oblast'. At the aggregate level, the evidence that is presented suggests distinct preference patterns, and that the main focus of preference is on the city center. The geography of residential satisfaction is different. Differences in satisfaction have been found between residents of housing built by former high-priority enterprises and those occupying most of the remainder of the housing stock. These differences underscore the pervasive and continuing importance of the legacy of Soviet economic and territorial planning, and the still rather limited changes that the marketization of the economy has been able to produce.