Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2013


Geographic information systems

Physical Description

A Project for Greater Portland Pulse by the Empowering Communities with Asset Mapping and GIS Portland State University Senior Capstone Course, Spring 2013


The focus of this project was to evaluate the age-friendliness of the communities surrounding assisted living facilities in Clark, Clackamas, and Washington counties. Two facilities were selected in each of the aforementioned counties and researchers from our team surveyed the pedestrian environmental features of the surrounding area within a quarter-mile radius of the each facility. The survey data from each site was then distributed among two groups for qualitative and quantitative analysis. Quantitative analysis consisted of a compiling process that took the measures of quantifiable features (e.g. number of sidewalk breaks, abandoned lots, etc.) gathered in the field and standardized them in a single database, allowing an objective, cross-county comparison of the frequency of pedestrian environmental qualities identified as being indicative of age-friendliness. Qualitative analysis involved the distillation of recurring themes and observations reported by surveyors as they gave their impressions of the areas they visited, which were then used to interpret and appraise the accuracy of marketing materials issued by the target facilities. Both investigations were then contextualized by a separate group tasked with reviewing existing scholarship and impressions of academics working in geriatrics and other pertinent fields. Ultimately this examination also sought to identify the exact dimensions and characteristics of an age- friendly community, as well. Taken together, the research done in this project has lead us conclude that each county will have unique obstacles to overcome in pursuit of greater age friendliness yet they will need to act cohesively and cooperatively in order to do so. This will involve paying closer attention to how integrated the senior population is in the wider social sphere of their communities as well as working to ensure that crucial resources remain accessible to them wherever they may live.


Senior Capstone Instructor: Meg Merrick, Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, Portland State University.

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