The Relation between Objective and Perceived Physical Characteristics of a Neighborhood Environment for Older People


  • Nadhirah Nordin Graduate School of Science & Technology, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan
  • Hitoshi Nakamura Department of Planning, Architecture & Environment Systems, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan



Active ageing, physical neighbourhood environment, neighbourhood liveability, quality of life


This paper aims to investigate the relation between objective and perceived neighbourhood walkability and its influence on the physical activity level of older adults. The relationships were used to measure older people's neighbourhood liveability, whereas physical activity relates to older people's quality of life in Johor Bahru neighbourhoods, Malaysia. The study outcomes show residents in a highly dense area with higher accessibility to facilities perceived higher walkability but showed a lower physical activity level. Residents in high intersection density areas who recognised high walkability demonstrated higher physical activity level, whereas residents in a highly dense area with higher accessibility show lower physical activity level.

Keywords: Active ageing; physical neighbourhood environment; neighbourhood liveability; quality of life

eISSN: 2398-4287 © 2019. The Authors. Published for AMER ABRA cE-Bs by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK. This is an open access article under the CC BYNC-ND license ( Peer–review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.


Bell, J. (2017). Iskandar Malaysia Population Density.

Cerin, E., Nathan, A., van Cauwenberg, J., Barnett, D. W., & Barnett, A. (2017). The neighbourhood physical environment and active travel in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 1–23.

Chang, P.-J., Wray, L., & Lin, Y. (2014). Social Relationships, Leisure Activity, and Health in Older Adults. Health Psychology, 33(6), 516–523.

Chiang, Y. C., Sullivan, W., & Larsen, L. (2017). Measuring neighborhood walkable environments: A comparison of three approaches. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(6), 1–12.

Curl, A., Thompson, C. W., Alves, S., & Aspinall, P. (2016). Outdoor Environmental Supportiveness and Older People’s Quality of Life: A Personal Projects Approach. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 30(1), 1–17.

Department of Statistics, M. (2017). Population and demographics. Routledge Handbook of Water and Health, 1, 397–402.

Dill, J. (2003). Measuring Network Connectivity for Bicycling and Walking. Transportation Research Board 83rd Annual Meeting, (1), 1–21. Retrieved from

Forde, C. (2005). Scoring the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease, (2005). Retrieved from

Hashim, A. H., & Leby, J. L. (2010). Liveability dimensions and attributes: Their relative importance in the eyes of neighbourhood residents. Journal of Construction in Developing Countries, 15(1), 67–91. Retrieved from

Hedrich, W., Tan, J., Chalmers, B., & Yeo, J. (2016). Advancing Into the Golden Years -Cost of Healthcare for Asia Pacific ’ S Elderly. Retrieved from Ageing report FULL.pdf

Iskandar Malaysia Development Authority (IRDA). GIS Existing and Planned Land Use Data for Iskandar Malaysia Region. (2012)

Leslie, E., Coffee, N., Frank, L., Owen, N., Bauman, A., & Hugo, G. (2007). Walkability of local communities: Using geographic information systems to objectively assess relevant environmental attributes. Health and Place, 13(1), 111–122.

Lu, Y., Xiao, Y., & Ye, Y. (2017). Urban density, diversity and design: Is more always better for walking? A study from Hong Kong. Preventive Medicine, 103, S99–S103.

M, W. A. M. W., & Lee, Y. Y. (2018). Reliability and validity of the neighbourhood environment walkability scale (news) – malay version, 5(1).

Mobily, K. E. (2014). Walking among older adults. World Leisure Journal, 56(2), 130–140.

Oakes, J. M., Forsyth, A., & Schmitz, K. H. (2007). The effects of neighborhood density and street connectivity on walking behavior: The Twin Cities walking study. Epidemiologic Perspectives and Innovations, 4(February).

Okamura, H. E. Y. (2016). Mainstreaming Gender and Aging in the SDGs.

Saelens, B. E., & Sallis, J. F. (2002). Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS). American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 78–81.

Sallis, J., Black, J., & Chen, D. (2002). Scoring procedures and preliminary psychometrics for the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS). Behavioral Medicine, 24, S139.

Sallis, J. F., Floyd, M. F., Rodríguez, D. A., & Saelens, B. E. (2012). Role of Built Environments in Physical Activity, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation, 125(5), 729–737.

Throsby, D. (2005). Cultural heritage as financial asset in strategies for urban development and poverty alleviation. Paper for International Conference for Integrating Urban Knowledge & Practice, Gothenburg, Sweden, 29 May–3 June, 2005, (May 2005), 2–14.

Tobi, S. U. M., Fathi, M. S., & Amaratunga, D. (2017). Ageing in place, an overview for the elderly in Malaysia. AIP Conference Proceedings, 1891(October).

Voorhees, C. C., Ashwood, J. S., Evenson, K. R., Sirard, J. R., Rung, A. L., Dowda, M., & McKenzie, T. L. (2010). Neighborhood Design and Perceptions: Relationship with Active Commuting. Med Sci Sports Exerc., 42(7), 1253–1260.

WHO. (2002). Active Ageing: A Policy Framework. The Aging Male, 5(1), 1–37.



How to Cite

Nordin, N., & Nakamura, H. (2019). The Relation between Objective and Perceived Physical Characteristics of a Neighborhood Environment for Older People. Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal, 4(11), 63-71.