Seniors and Parks: Identifying and Responding to the Elders’ Needs for Open Space

Two reports now available:

Placemaking for an Aging Population: Guidelines for Senior-Friendly Parks 

Parks for Seniors: Identifying Opportunity Sites in Los Angeles 

Project Description

Senior citizens remain a highly underserved group in regards to parks. This despite the fact that studies find a positive relation between physical and emotional well-being and spending time in a natural setting (park, garden, the woods) or undertaking activities such as gardening, walking or meditating in nature. Additionally, older adults represent the most inactive portion of the population. Studies have examined a host of attitudinal, cognitive, and behavioral variables that may contribute to inactivity and sedentary lifestyles among the elderly. We know little about the needs and preferences of different elderly groups in regards to neighborhood open space or the influence of objective and subjective features of the neighborhood built environment.

This project is responding to this lack of knowledge and understanding. First, the research team is synthesized existing knowledge on the conceptualization of how to build parks for older adults that also incorporate opportunities for physical activity. We are also explored how similar parks in urban areas in the U.S. and overseas have been developed. We are combined this knowledge  with information garnered from focus groups with elders at a senior center to learn about their open space preferences and desires for a future park in their area. This is to inform the design of the Coronado St. park so that it is highly relevant to the target population.

This project culminated in a user-friendly and richly illustrated document. This report includes design recommendations that encompass findings from the literature review, interviews, and focus groups, as well as a presentation of particular open spaces in the US and/or overseas that have been designed specifically for seniors. This project is supported by the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and in part, by the Archstone Foundation.


Madeline Brozen “Placemaking for an Aging Population” UCLA Research Conference on Aging. July 25, 2014.









Additional details:

Working on this project: Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Lene Levy-Storms, Madeline Brozen Project Start Date: June 2013   Project End Date: December 2014


Associated Publications



2017-05-10T15:34:25+00:00February 11th, 2014|Categories: Complete Streets|Tags: |