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The effectiveness of ‘shared space’ residential street interventions on self-reported activity levels and quality of life for older people

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date6 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


The role of the built environment in facilitating physical activity is well recognised. However, longitudinal studies into the effects of changes to the built environment on levels of activity and quality of life outcomes are lacking, especially for older people.This paper presents results from a longitudinal study of 'home zone' style changes to residential streets, designed to make streets more 'liveable' by reducing the dominance of vehicular traffic and creating shared space. The interventions were focused in deprived areas, where the changes followed an inclusive, community-led approach. The intervention sites were matched with comparison sites receiving no intervention. While existing studies into the outcomes of home zone type interventions have tended to focus on tangible measures such as road casualties or traffic speeds, this study examines broader, self-reported behavioural (i.e. activity levels and perceptions), health and quality of life outcomes.Results were gathered pre-intervention in 2008 and then, post-intervention, in 2010 or 2011 for participants aged 65 or older. They show that interventions are associated with a significant improvement in perceptions of how easy it is to walk on the street near home. Participants also considered that they were significantly more active post- intervention. However, there was less evidence of positive change in health, quality of life, frequency of activities outdoors, time spent outdoors, or better social connectedness. One potential reason is that a greater time period post implementation is needed for such outcomes to become manifest.

    Research areas

  • Shared space, Older people, Quality of life, Physical activity

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