Urban vitality and seniors’ outdoor rest time in Barcelona

Zeynep S. Akinci*, Oriol Marquet, Xavier Delclòs-Alió, Carme Miralles-Guasch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)
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Immobility and lack of physical activity (PA) are global problems among seniors (≥65 years old). While being active is preferable to not doing physical activity, not leaving the house for long periods might increase mortality risk, lead to social isolation, depression, cognitive impairment, besides other health problems. However, going out of home, even to spend rest time outdoors could improve mental health, increase vitamin D intake, or provide opportunities in involvement in various experiences such as psychosocial, emotional, cultural, therapeutic, leisure or even PA, since resting forms an essential part of PA for some seniors. Previous studies show that the characteristics of individuals as well as the physical environment and how seniors perceive it affect their outdoor behavior. Aiming to contribute to the literature which mostly focuses on the relationship between characteristics of the physical environment and seniors' PA, this study explores how a specific urban characteristic: urban vitality impacts seniors' outdoor rest while considering age and gender. To do so we used GPS-tracking and accelerometer data belonging to 253 seniors residing in Barcelona, in combination with a GIS-based urban vitality index and a questionnaire for sociodemographic data and neighborhood perceptions. Results show that seniors in Barcelona tend to rest rather than being active in more vital areas. However, results differ among age and gender groups. The probability of using vital areas for outdoor rest was especially higher among older senior men (≥75 years old). This study furthers our understanding of seniors' outdoor behavior, its relationship with the built environment and how this relationship varies among individual characteristics. Results might provide valuable insights for the design of vital urban spaces that can have positive contributions to seniors' lives while strengthening the community life by promoting social inclusion of all age and gender groups in urban life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103241
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Accelerometer
  • GPS
  • Outdoor rest
  • Seniors
  • Urban vitality


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