Findings from the Through Their Eyes project highlight key strengths and challenges of St. Catharines communities and identify several opportunities for change. Click here to see a summary of this project’s research.
Findings from 15 Gale Crescent, 2016
Findings from 479 Carleton Street, 2015
Findings from 14 Centre Street, 2014
Age-Friendly Aspects of the Neighbourhood
The intergenerational research teams found that the downtown St. Catharines neighbourhood had several key features that support healthy aging for older residents; in the city core, older adults have easy access to public transportation, numerous public spaces and retail services, and nearby health and social services.
Not-So-Age-Friendly Aspects of the Neighbourhood
Elements of the community that seniors found challenging and described as not-so-age-friendly aspects of the downtown area were safety (both fear of crime-violence, as well as traffic and road safety) and a lack of access to healthy and affordable food.
The opportunities for change that emerged from our research are:
- Transportation: a) increase seating in bus shelters (particularly those near the study site, 14 Centre Street) and, b) improve/enhance the Sunday bus schedule to provide more options and better scheduling opportunities
- Traffic: implement changes to roads and traffic signals to slow down the speed and traffic volume near the residence (e.g. speed bumps)
- Accessibility: clean and maintain the roads and curb cuts in the downtown core sidewalks, particularly those which are close to the residence; and, b) increase pedestrian crossing times at intersections
- Social Participation: offer more seniors discounts to events and activities, and b) develop more age-inclusive (safe, accessible, for all-ages) social programs and public spaces in the city
- Social Inclusion: the RAFT across the street from the senior residence is a major concern and worry for most residents. They feel unsafe going out particularly at night. Bridging the gap between these two groups that share the neighbourhood is critical to the health of this community and all its residents.
The first 3 challenges are directly related to the physical environment and are controlled primarily by the city of St. Catharines municipality and chamber of commerce. To address these challenges, these concerns will be presented to the respective stakeholders (e.g., department of transportation; planning, etc).
These last 2 challenges are social in nature and require engagement and “buy in” from the municipality as well as from private and non-profit organizations and seniors themselves. The issue of social inclusion is an interesting and unique issue to this community. These concerns have been made known to the stakeholders and attempts to address these challenges are on-going.
Affecting change in these areas would help to create a more age-friendly and subsequently more healthy community for all residents!