Int J Health Geogr - Using GPS technology to (re)-examine operational definitions of 'neighbourhood' in place-based health research.


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CKGROUND: Inconsistencies in research findings on the impact of the built environment on walking across the life course may be methodologically driven. Commonly used methods to define 'neighbourhood', from which built environment variables are measured, may not accurately represent the spatial extent to which the behaviour in question occurs. This paper aims to provide new methods for spatially defining 'neighbourhood' based on how people use their surrounding environment.RESULTS: Informed by Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking data, several alternative neighbourhood delineation techniques were examined (i.e., variable width, convex hull and standard deviation buffers). Compared with traditionally used buffers (i.e., circular and polygon network), differences were found in built environment characteristics within the newly created 'neighbourhoods'. Model fit statistics indicated that exposure measures derived from alternative buffering techniques provided a better fit when examining the relationship between land-use and walking for transport or leisure.CONCLUSIONS: This research identifies how changes in the spatial extent from which built environment measures are derived may influence walking behaviour. Buffer size and orientation influences the relationship between built environment measures and walking for leisure in older adults. The use of GPS data proved suitable for re-examining operational definitions of neighbourhood.

Resumo Limpo

ckground inconsist research find impact built environ walk across life cours may methodolog driven common use method defin neighbourhood built environ variabl measur may accur repres spatial extent behaviour question occur paper aim provid new method spatial defin neighbourhood base peopl use surround environmentresult inform global posit system gps track data sever altern neighbourhood delin techniqu examin ie variabl width convex hull standard deviat buffer compar tradit use buffer ie circular polygon network differ found built environ characterist within newli creat neighbourhood model fit statist indic exposur measur deriv altern buffer techniqu provid better fit examin relationship landus walk transport leisureconclus research identifi chang spatial extent built environ measur deriv may influenc walk behaviour buffer size orient influenc relationship built environ measur walk leisur older adult use gps data prove suitabl reexamin oper definit neighbourhood

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