A direct observation method for auditing large urban centers using stratified sampling, mobile GIS technology and virtual environments

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Title: A direct observation method for auditing large urban centers using stratified sampling, mobile GIS technology and virtual environments
Authors: Lafontaine, Sean J V
Sawada, M.
Kristjansson, Elizabeth
Date: 16-Feb-2017
Abstract: Abstract Background With the expansion and growth of research on neighbourhood characteristics, there is an increased need for direct observational field audits. Herein, we introduce a novel direct observational audit method and systematic social observation instrument (SSOI) for efficiently assessing neighbourhood aesthetics over large urban areas. Methods Our audit method uses spatial random sampling stratified by residential zoning and incorporates both mobile geographic information systems technology and virtual environments. The reliability of our method was tested in two ways: first, in 15 Ottawa neighbourhoods, we compared results at audited locations over two subsequent years, and second; we audited every residential block (167 blocks) in one neighbourhood and compared the distribution of SSOI aesthetics index scores with results from the randomly audited locations. Finally, we present interrater reliability and consistency results on all observed items. Results The observed neighbourhood average aesthetics index score estimated from four or five stratified random audit locations is sufficient to characterize the average neighbourhood aesthetics. The SSOI was internally consistent and demonstrated good to excellent interrater reliability. At the neighbourhood level, aesthetics is positively related to SES and physical activity and negatively correlated with BMI. Conclusion The proposed approach to direct neighbourhood auditing performs sufficiently and has the advantage of financial and temporal efficiency when auditing a large city.
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12942-017-0079-7
http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35834
CollectionLibre accès - Publications // Open Access - Publications
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