During the Fall 2016 term at Brock University, the Building Healthy Communities class set out to gather research for another edition of the Through Their Eyes Project in Niagara.
It was a year of several exciting firsts for the project. Students met with residents of a new site and explored a new city in Niagara during a different time of year. Everyone involved was pleased to have some political figures in attendance at the community forum for the first time, too!
In partnership with Niagara Regional Housing (NRH), Dr. Pauli Gardner and her 24 students teamed up with senior residents living in the units of 124 and 140 Elmview Street in Welland, Ontario. NRH is dedicated to providing affordable housing in a supportive and inclusive environment for people of similar ages.
To better understand what makes an age-friendly community, the 24 students were split into 11 groups and paired with senior residents living at the selected sites to form intergenerational teams. As with previous years, each student applied the knowledge, tools, and resources learned throughout the course to see through the eyes of the city’s senior citizens in order to evaluate the age-friendliness of their community.
GIS mapping was first introduced to the Through Their Eyes Project during the Winter Term of 2016 as an additional method of tracking data throughout the city of St. Catharines. This year, students downloaded the Collector app for ArcGIS on their phones to help them collect important data for the project on the go. The addition of the app meant that students were better equipped to accurately record, and later assess, the age-friendliness of the Welland community.
GIS is a computer system that allows you to view information about a geographical area (in this case, the Elmview community) in the form of a map. The students used these maps to pinpoint the domains of an age-friendly community such as the community’s parks and green spaces, transportation routes, and locations of nearby supermarkets, churches, and health services.
The GIS maps also record the typical routes that the student groups’ senior counterparts use on a frequent basis. The idea is that they will help us better understand their community experience from a data perspective.
These maps continue to be a useful tool for this project, as they add another layer to our understanding of the communities we assess and their age-friendliness.
Have a look at some of the students’ maps from this year:
Video Presentation Summarizing Through Their Eyes Project Findings
Community-Campus Event Gallery
Keeping up with the project tradition, on December 6th, 2016, Pauli Gardner’s students, community partners, government officials, and senior residents from 124 and 140 Elmview gathered to share and learn about the project’s findings.
Take a moment to look through some of the photos from the event!