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Title:Nature and Older Adults: Green Common Spaces, Social Integration, and Important Aspects of Older Adults' Well-Being in the Inner-City
Author(s):Kweon, Byoung-Suk
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sullivan, William C.
Department / Program:Natural Resrouces and Environmental Sciences
Discipline:Natural Resrouces and Environmental Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:This study investigates how the presence of trees and grass in outdoor common spaces, and exposure to these natural elements enhance inner-city older adults' social integration and important aspects of their well-being. The specific areas of well-being included fear of crime, mental fatigue, physical health, activity participation, and morale. Results of interviews with 91 older adults (age 64 to 91) from Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago show that use of green outdoor common spaces predicted both the strength of neighborhood social ties and sense of community. Specifically, older adults who had greater exposure to green outdoor common spaces experienced greater involvement in neighborly activities, reported stronger social relationships with friends and neighbors, and reported a stronger sense of community than those who had less exposure to green outdoor common spaces. Results also show a possible curvilinear relationship between the amount of vegetation in outdoor common spaces and older residents' fear of crime. That is, older adults experienced higher levels of fear when there was very little trees and grass, or a great deal of trees and grass compared to when there was a medium amount of trees and grass in the outdoor common spaces near their apartments. While the data suggest a number of important new relationships may exist between nearby nature and social integration and fear of crime, we were challenged by a lack of findings between contact with nature and the other dependent variables (i.e., mental fatigue, physical health, activity participation, and morale). Potential explanations for the lack of significant findings with these variables are discussed. Results of this study have implications for designers, managers, and residents of housing developments.
Issue Date:1998
Description:132 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9921708
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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