Seminar - The many links between space and health: The added-value of combining different conceptual and empirical approaches
Dr Mylene Riva, Research Associate in the Department of Geography, will present a seminar entitled 'The many links between space and health: The added-value of combining different conceptual and empirical. This is the fourth in a new series of Monday lunchtime seminars delivered by IHRR. Please bring your lunch. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion at the end of the session.
Abstract: From a population health perspective, the effect of ‘space’ on health is conceptualized in multiple ways. Each underlies different assumptions about the nature of area effects on health and different methodological applications for their measurement. The objective of this study is to assess and compare the contribution of three approaches for investigating associations between built environment characteristics and walking: multilevel modelling, bespoke areas analysis and geographically weighted regression (GWR). Data on walking behaviour and socio-demographic characteristics of 2716 individuals were linked to area data on population density, land use mix and accessibility of services. These variables were computed for two geographies: census tracts and bespoke areas delimited by network buffers of 500, 750 and 1000 meters centred on individuals’ postal code. Results of multilevel models (adjusted for individuals’ characteristics) showed that greater land use mix and accessibility of services, but not population density, were significantly associated with greater likelihood of walking. Findings of bespoke area analyses indicated that the effect of area characteristics on walking was scale dependent: population density was significant only in smaller areas defined by a 500m network buffer whereas accessibility of services was significant only in the 1000m bespoke area. Results of GWR models revealed more localised patterns of area effects, with significance, magnitude and direction of associations varying across space. The different conceptualizations and empirical approaches applied lead to distinct yet complementary conclusions about the different scales at which environmental conditions may influence health.
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