|Sunday, June 21|
Studying pauperization in Québec City (1971-2016): methodological insights and comparative preliminary results
* Louis-Pierre Beaudry, Université Laval, Canada
Urban poverty has long been associated in North America with central cities, whereas suburbs have been pictured as middle-class havens. This period, as far as it actually existed, is however long gone. Suburbs diversified, urbanized, and consequently saw an increase of poverty presence. Although belated, an academic field recently emerged, studying this major “inversion” of metropolitan environments in the US (Murphy and Allard 2015), the UK (Bailey and Minton 2017) and Canada (Pavlic and Qian 2014). In Places in Need: the Changing Geography of Poverty, Allard (2017) identifies many resulting social issues, like political invisibilization and scarcity of local services and safety nets. While ad hoc analyses show that Québec City seems to have followed this pattern (Morin 2011), a systematic investigation has yet to be. Poverty and deprivation research is regularly conducted by Québec Public Health Agency. However, methodological choices and standpoints pose serious obstacles when trying to produce a sociological, developmental portrait: analyses are mostly static, raw data are not publicly available, and indicators are foremost built to assess risks of health issues. Especially problematic is the “social deprivation index”, that carries strong biases about the ideal household, measuring proportion of people divorced or living alone. Used in a diachronic analysis, this index would only confirm the relative morphologic stability of the city, as single-adult (“precarious”) households tend to concentrate in denser tracts. This communication presents theoretical and methodological efforts to assess how geography and forms of poverty evolved in Québec City CMA between 1971 and 2016. Indicators were built using socioeconomic Census Data, including average income, low-income frequency, and proportions of renters, of people without post-secondary education, and of (non-)occupied people. A typology of the metropolitan area is proposed, based on developmental patterns and characteristics like age, centrality and density. Of particular interest to this study is the disparity of “social housing” between the urban core and suburbs, heavily concentrated in the former. Finally, since suburban Census Tracts tend, in some areas, to group diverging morphologies, more precise cross-sectional analyses were made to nuance observations. Notably, several middle-range CTs show wildly diverging distributions at a smaller scale, underlining strong local spatial segregation. Based on existing literature, many hypotheses were tested, notably 1) that poverty increased in all older suburbs, but that 2) following Morin (2011), it increased more intensely in historically low-middle-class, « lower-town » suburbs; and 3) that poverty distribution is segmented between the urban core – where abundant subsidized housing accommodates marginalized, non-working or socially-assisted residents in an otherwise gentrifying environment –, and inner-ring suburbs/outer urban neighborhoods that offer scarcer services and an aging built environment increasingly inhabited by working poor (and notably immigrants). Preliminary results created using different methods are presented, underlining their advantages and limits, aiming to spark collective reflections about best practices. Special attention is given to challenges posed by uncrossed data, and solutions to avoid its misinterpretation, for example regarding the eventual relation between income drops and retirement.
Home accessibility of older adults aging with mobility disability: A mixed-methods study
* Widya Ramadhani, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
People who are aging with long-term mobility disability face greater challenges in their everyday life. On top of their primary disability, they also experience other age-related changes that add the complexity of their basic daily activity (ADLs) engagement. Accessibility-related research mostly targets general older adult population, whose experience cannot be generalized to older adults aging with disability. Few studies explored aging in place experience from everyday activity engagement. This study intends to fill the gap by analyzing aging in place phenomenon in the level of ADLs at home. Mixed-methods study is conducted to get a well-rounded perspective on aging in place by collecting and contrasting the subjective and objective data of ADLs in the home of older adults with long-term mobility disability. The ecological theory of adaptation and aging model (Nahemow & Lawton, 1973) is the underlining framework to analyze the challenges in the home environment that prevents optimum ADLs engagement among participants. This study aims to examine the dynamic relationship between older adults with their home environment by analyzing the conduct of four ADLs: eating, showering, dressing, and toileting. Mixed-methods research design is implemented to understand (1) How do the physical properties of the home environment influence older adults' feelings of competence in ADLs conduct? (2) Are there any gaps or conflicting design suggestions from the accessible home design standards for aging in place with older adults' experience? The subjects of this research are older adults age 60 and above who have mobility disability for ten years or more. Mobility disability is defined as using an assistive device to support ambulation within and outside the home environment. Data will be collected using three methods; physical environment observation, activity walkthrough, and semi-structured interview that will take place in participants' houses. Data collection methods will be implemented interactively in a sequential-concurrent timing. Mixed-data analysis will be conducted to illustrate the relation of the home environment condition and older adults' feeling of competence and to look for gaps between accessible design standards with older adults' aging in place experience. The findings of this study provide a better understanding of how older adults with long term mobility disability manage their competence and independence, which will be useful for developing architectural design guidelines and policies regarding home accessibility. This research can support the effort to advocate for a more accommodating built environment for all people regardless of their age and ability. The research project is currently in the planning phase. The research project proposal will be defended at the end of Spring 2020. Currently, I am conducting an archival study that identifies the prevailing trend of challenges and responses that older adults with long-term mobility impairment experience in engaging with everyday activities at home. It serves as the preliminary research that will complement the design of this dissertation project. With my participation in the young researcher workshop, I am looking for discussion and guidance on implementing a mixed-methods design in environment behavior studies.
What constitutes an optimally stimulating environment for older people and people with brain injury?
* Ruby Lipson-Smith, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia
This research project is in the preliminary stages of development. During my PhD, I explored the role of the physical environment in re-learning and recovery after stroke (thesis to be submitted March 2020). One of the findings from my research is that rehabilitation facilities need to be both stimulating and supportive environments. They must stimulate the senses, promote brain activity and encourage patients to participate in physical and cognitive practice to promote re-learning and recovery after stroke; but these environments also need to be supportive and calming for patients. This finding has prompted me to question what constitutes a stimulating environment for different populations, including, but not limited to stroke patients. Person-Environment Fit theory posits that a person's behaviour and emotional well-being are both functions of the fit between 1) the person's competencies and 2) the 'press' or affordances of their environment (Lawton & Nahemow, 1973). Theories of Environmental Enrichment suggest that a stimulating environment, and resulting cognitive and physical activity, are important for healthy aging and brain repair (Nithianantharajah & Hannan, 2006), but, according to Person-Environment Fit theory, the optimal level of stimulation may vary depending on the needs and competencies of the person, which may change with age. The aim of this research is to determine the optimal level of sensory stimulation in the environment that is required to produce a particular brain activity profile in different populations, including older people and people with brain injury. This research will address the following questions: Does a subjectively stimulating environment result in a particular brain activity profile? Is there an associated increase in physical or cognitive activity? What type of sensory stimulation is required to produce this? And how does this vary depending on age or brain injury? The research program would begin with a systematic literature review to determine how different types of sensory stimulation impact brain activity at different ages. This literature review will help to define the brain activity profile of interest. Workshops with older people and people with brain injury will be conducted to define a subjectively stimulating environment for these populations. A mobile electroencephalograph (EEG), such as those produced by Emotiv Inc., could be used to measure brain activity in response to environments with different levels of stimulation. I am unsure how best to address the quantitative component of the data analysis for this research as there are likely to be a large number of variables to consider (extent of visual, aural, tactile stimulation, etc.) as well as comparison between groups, and potential mediating variables. I would also appreciate feedback regarding the use of mobile EEG, especially in older populations or people with brain injury. Results from this research could inform our understanding of how the aging or injured brain responds to sensory stimulus, and the optimal levels of stimulation to support beneficial brain activity for brain recovery and healthy aging. Findings could be used to inform healthcare building design guidelines for brain recovery centres and residential aged care facilities.