Using virtual field observations to evaluate the influence of neighborhood context on human wellbeing.

Authors: Zachary Christman*, Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability, Rowan University, Allison Heid, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Maureen Wilson-Genderson, Temple University, Rachel Pruchno, New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Field Methods
Keywords: health, gis, field observations, neighborhood context, google streetview
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The influence of the local environment on the health and wellbeing of residents has been documented and evaluated extensively. Critical to these studies are qualitative and quantitative assessments of neighborhoods and communities, which may vary in structure, condition, and context at a finer scale than is apparent in commonly available aggregated datasets. Field observations of conditions in situ can be costly in time and resources. Virtual observations using publicly-available 360-degree street-level imagery can provide a rapid and reliable source of data for locations and time periods for which such is available. This study relates observed street-side characteristics assessed using Google StreetView imagery with remotely sensed and demographic characteristics, as well as reported characteristics of the health and wellbeing of residents, based on more than 2600 location observations and interviews of older New Jersey residents. Results demonstrate the utility of virtual observations for neighborhood assessment and correspondence of these observations with observed and reported characteristics of residents’ neighborhoods and experiences that may influence their health and wellbeing.

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