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How innovative city planning can aid healthy aging in place: Evaluating the success of the Comox-Helmcken Greenway under the aspect of age-friendly community planning

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Canada’s aging population will require retrofitting our communities to become age-friendly communities that encourage active aging. In this research project a subset of data from the ‘Active Streets, Active People’ research study was analyzed to evaluate the success of the Comox-Helmcken Greenway in downtown Vancouver, B.C. I compared three days of coupled GPS/Accelerometry data for 111 study participants aged > 60 from prior and post construction of the greenway. The construction did not lead to increased levels of active transportation among the study participants, however our data suggests that the improvements along the corridor elevated the neighbourhood street to a more valuable public space. The findings revealed increased use of Comox Street as a walking corridor, and confirmed implementation of many age-friendly features. This research highlights the significance of interdisciplinary research to community planning and calls for more research evaluating the links between older adults’ well-being and the built environment.
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