Health effects of active ageing are moderated by neighbourhood experiences.

Based on research which examined pathways between neighbourhood experiences and older adults’ health, Healthy Ageing in Place (HAP) facilitates community-based interventions in high-rise, high-density East-Southeast Asia. Since 2017, we found:

(1) Older adults’ psychosocial health is more affected by the neighbourhood environment than their physical health per the transdisciplinary neighbourhood health framework. This finding was based on an integrative review of 51 multidisciplinary articles published here (full-text available):
Gan, D. R. Y. (2017). Neighborhood effects for aging in place: A transdisciplinary framework toward health-promoting settings. Housing and Society, 44(1), 79-113.

(2) Neighbourhood experiences may be measured by a four-factor scale consisting of communal affordance, embeddedness, environment pleasantness and time outdoors. A 16-item scale was developed and validated. The scale is published here (full-text available):
Gan, D. R. Y., Fung, J. C., & Cho, I. S. (2019). Neighborhood experiences of people over age 50: Factor structure and validity of a scale. The Gerontologist.

(3) Neighbourhood experiences is positively correlated with psychosocial health as measured the the Rapid Positive Mental Health Instrument (RPMHI). Two distinct neighbourhood health processes were identified, namely communal affordance-emotional support and embeddedness-interpersonal skills. These present opportunities to develop targeted community-based interventions via urban design and community psychology in high-rise, high-density contexts. Full text of the thesis is available here:

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Findings will be published here:

  • Gan, D. R. Y., Cheng, G. H.-L., Ng, T. P., Fung, J. C., & Cho, I. S. Neighbourhood heath processes: The effect of neighbourhood experiences on positive mental health. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Gan, D. R. Y., Gwee, X., Soh, C. Y., Fung, J. C., Cho, I. S., & Ng, T. P. Neighbourhood makes or breaks active ageing. Manuscript in preparation.

(4) Neighbourhood experiences fully mediated the effects of active living on health-related quality of life (SF-12). Without a supportive neighbourhood environment, active living will not improve older adults’ health-related quality of life. Neighbourhood-level geriatric depression (GDS) was found to hamper the effect of neighbourhood experiences on RPMHI. These formed an impetus for a psychosocioecological approach to community-based interventions from a public health perspective. A systematic review is underway.


  1. The effect of neighborhood experiences on positive mental health among community-dwelling older adults (Poster)
    Gerontological Society of America (GSA) 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting Online. 5 Nov 2020. 9.45am PDT.
  2. Healthy ageing in place: The role of the neighbourhood (Invited)
    Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Centre, Singapore. Urban Lab Speaker Series. Jan 2020. 
  3. Pathways between neighbourhood experiences and mental health amongst community-dwelling older adults: Towards an urban community gerontology
    Centre for Instructional Technology, National University of Singapore. Jan 2020.
  4. 604 Tables: A pilot community-based intervention for healthy ageing in place
    Nee Soon East Community Centre, Singapore. Nov 2019.
  5. Psychosocioecological approaches to community-based interventions for older adults’ health: A research agenda
    Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford. Oct 2019.
  6. From non-places to third places: Older adults’ appropriation of void decks in Singapore’s public housing neighbourhoods
    Royal Geographical Society, London. Annual International Conference 2019. Aug 2019.
  7. Boundary conditions for healthy ageing in place: Mixed methods
    Shaw Foundation Building, National University of Singapore. Graduate Student Workshop. Feb 2019.
  8. Healthy ageing in place: Planning for an ageing society
    Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise, Singapore. NUS MUP Studio Lecture Series. Jan 2019.
  9. How older people’s everyday neighbourhood experiences affect their psychosocial health: Path analysis
    Shaw Foundation Alumni House, National University of Singapore. Great Asian Streets Symposium. Dec 2018.
  10. Which neighbourhood amenities mediate between depressive symptoms and older adults’ psychosocial health? (Poster)
    Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore. 2018 International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) Ageing, Longevity and Health Scientific and Graduate Student Conference. Oct 2018.
  11. Everyday activity spaces for psychosocial health of older adults in public housing
    Urban Workshop, University of Chicago. Jun 2018.
  12. Population ageing, household trends and social interaction in high-density urban neighbourhoods of Singapore
    Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou. Asia Pacific Network of Housing Research. Dec 2016.