Comparing Spatial Measures of the Built Environment for Health Research [article]

Shawn C. Hoch, IUPUI University Library, IUPUI # Defaults To Publisher, Wilson, Jeffrey S. (Jeffrey Scott), 1967-, Gilbert Liu, Sarah Wiehe
Research on the association between health and the built environment often delineates environmental exposure using different spatial forms and distances surrounding points of interest, such as residences or schools. Examples from the literature include Euclidian and network buffers, administrative and census boundaries, and other arbitrary geographies, such as grid cells. There is a lack, however, of reports that describe the justifications or implications for using different methods. This
more » ... rch compares different forms and distances for measuring environmental variables surrounding residential locations in the context of adult walking behavior in Marion County, Indiana. Walkability index and vegetation greenness variables were evaluated within 400-meter, 1-kilometer, and 2-kilometer Euclidian and network buffers, census block groups and tracts, and 805- X 805-meter grid cells. Results of analyses using each of these methods to test walkability and greenness as correlates of self-reported walking behavior were compared. Significant differences were observed in measurements of environmental variables as a function of both size and form. There were also significant differences between spatial measure methods when measuring components of walkability and NDVI. Census geographies, widely used in the public health literature, yielded environmental variable measurements differently than did similarly-sized residence-based measure methods. In logistic regressions, the walkability index did not exhibit a significant relationship with self-reported walking behavior. NDVI exhibited a negative relationship with self-reported walking, although the relationship was reversed and significant when stratifying by residential density.
doi:10.7912/c2/759 fatcat:4ucyqvreb5cufdkcisbqp6b3du