Social needs of the elderly and active aging in public open spaces in urban renewal

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Urban renewal districts have a relatively high concentration of elderly people. Open spaces are important for the elderly for enhancing social interaction and active aging. However, planning and design of open spaces tend to stress on the physical and safety needs of the elderly, while social needs are not frequently addressed. This study intends to identify whether the social needs of the elderly regarding the use of public open spaces in urban renewal districts are addressed in the standard planning and design guidelines which newly planned development and districts are often based upon. Eight focus groups were conducted in elderly community centers in two urban renewal districts in Hong Kong. The results indicate that elderly people consider 'social and physical activities', 'community life facilities and services' and 'social network', as well as a 'clean and pleasant environment' to be their most important needs. Thus, planners and designers should take into consideration these criteria for enhancing the social well-being of the elderly and active aging in public open spaces in urban renewal. Furthermore, it stresses that urban renewal districts are part of the elderly's past living experiences and established social networks, which is not the case in new developments and areas. As such, the users' actual needs should be elicited rather than perceived by planners and designers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Active aging
  • Hong Kong
  • Open space
  • Social needs
  • Urban renewal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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