A Speed Data Collection Tool, Measures the Reasons behind Healthy Living


In order to understand and analyze the role neighborhoods play in senior citizen’s abilities to live safely and independently in one’s home of choice rather than in a healthcare facility after a concerned age, American University sociology Prof. Michael Bader and colleagues created a web application that speeds up researchers’ data collection.

The application is called Computer Assisted Neighborhood Visual Assessment System and in a new paper in the journal Health & Place, Bader and team has demonstrated how it works and how researchers used the app to rate 150 different features of neighborhoods in major metropolitan cities across the United States. The app eliminated the costly and time-consuming aspects of conducting research. The technology works here is the Google Street View technology, which links together images to create panoramic views of cities and rural areas.

“Before Google Street View, sociologists had to cover hundreds of square miles in neighborhoods and painstakingly record visual details to answer research questions about gentrification, elders and healthy aging, and more. CANVAS takes Google Street View a step further by marrying its image data collection with Django software, providing a reliable, efficient and comprehensive tool for conducting sociological research on a large scale.” – Bader

Research on people’s quality of life and health by analyzing the neighborhood factors is going on from long back. Now also, the researchers must take note of hundreds of details involving land use, aesthetics, traffic design and amenities, a neighborhood’s proximity to parks, and sidewalk types.

National Institute for Child Health and Human Development provided a $247,888 grant for the creation of the application. Bader now is conducting a research in the Washington, D.C. region, where the population of those 65 and older will increase to 15.3 percent in 2030. He wants to reach to the answer of why elders leave communities in which they live, and what prevents them from aging in place.

“Neighborhoods affect how healthy people are, how they interact, and how safe they feel. Factors like broken sidewalks, curbs without cut-outs, and a lack of cross-walks are associated with negative health outcomes.” – Barder

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