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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Older People's Use of Unfamiliar Space

The research explores older people's use and navigation of unfamiliar spaces as drivers, pedestrians and public transport users. It aims:

  • to investigate the influences on someone's ability to cope with unfamiliar environments; to examine the extent to which unfamiliar environments curtail autonomy and independence and lead to social (and environmental) exclusion;
  • to identify the environmental triggers that older people respond to, for example to determine the characteristics of places that makes them threatening.

In addition it will explore how technologies can assist in enabling older people to adapt to/change the environment.

Filming of unfamiliar routes will be displayed in a virtual reality cave. The filming will take place as a pedestrian. Older people will be asked to give a detailed narrative as they navigate a route and will be interviewed after the experience. Spatial planners (from the area of filming) will also be interviewed and will interact with older participants in discussing environmental design.

From the information a demonstrator GIS/GPS based spatial information tool will be developed, which older people will test. The research will also lead to a good practice guide for spatial planners.

application/pdf Impact Report

Author: Judith Phillops Date: 12 July 2011 Impact Report