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International Journal of Health Geographics

, 16:6

First Online: 16 February 2017Received: 24 September 2016Accepted: 04 February 2017DOI: 10.1186-s12942-017-0079-7

Cite this article as: Lafontaine, S.J.V., Sawada, M. & Kristjansson, E. Int J Health Geogr 2017 16: 6. doi:10.1186-s12942-017-0079-7


BackgroundWith 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.

MethodsOur 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.

ResultsThe 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.

ConclusionThe proposed approach to direct neighbourhood auditing performs sufficiently and has the advantage of financial and temporal efficiency when auditing a large city.

KeywordsDirect observation Auditing Large urban centers Methodological approach Stratified sampling Technology Virtual environments AbbreviationsGISgeographic information systems

SSOIsystematic social observation instrument

SESsocioeconomic status

BMIbody mass index

GPSglobal positioning system

KML filesKeyhole Markup Language, an open source ASCII format for geographic data

R1 to R5types of residential dwellings

IRRinterrater reliability

ICCintraclass correlation coefficient

ITCitem-total correlation

IPAQInternational Physical Activity Questionnaire

CFB Rockcliffe NRCCanadian Forces Base Rockcliffe, National Research Council

MAUPmodifiable areal unit problem

ArcPadESRI Inc. mobile windows CE, windows phone application for mobile geographic data collection

iOSan operating system for mobile devices used by Apple Inc.

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Autor: Sean J. V. Lafontaine - M. Sawada - Elizabeth Kristjansson

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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