Cities of (In)Difference: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Place and Wellbeing In Later Life

No Thumbnail Available

Persistent link to this item

Statistics
View Statistics

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Title

Cities of (In)Difference: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Place and Wellbeing In Later Life

Published Date

2018-06

Publisher

Type

Thesis or Dissertation

Abstract

Where one lives constitutes an important determinant of health and quality of later life. Yet few studies to date focus explicitly on the everyday experiences, contexts, and needs of individuals to age well within their physical and social environments. While aging in place represents a widespread goal of individuals, service providers, and policymakers, it remains an ambiguous, problematic, and uncritical concept. This can have devastating consequences as it is frequently applied with little consideration of the places themselves. This study investigated aging in a harsh continental climate with a strong focus on underrepresented low-income and racially diverse older adults. Three case study areas across the Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) metropolitan area purposefully contrasted socio-demographic and geographic characteristics. Seated and mobile interviews were conducted with independent-dwelling men and women (n=125, mean age 71 years) from May to October, 2015. A geospatial audit evaluated participants’ homes at the dwelling, street, and neighborhood level. Ethnography with six participants over twelve months (September, 2015 – August, 2016) and semi-structured interviews with ten local policymakers and community service providers (May – October, 2016) deepened understanding. The findings depict how built, social, and natural environments contribute to aging in very particular ways. Older bodies literally express structured advantages and disadvantages of their surrounding contexts. Aging in place efforts can exacerbate the deeply uneven conditions of American cities and the vulnerabilities of those aging ‘in the margins’. Theoretical analyses unpack and unsettle discourses about aging in order to address problematic assumptions, blind spots, and unchallenged and unconsidered modes of thought upon which geography rests. The chapters engage political, economic, feminist, critical race, disability, health, and urban theories to enrich not only geographic scholarship, but also the lives of older adults. The dissertation destabilizes the foundations of age-friendly governance and generates novel possibilities for more just and inclusive modes of urban form. It creates more room for alternative ways of ‘being in the world’ based upon a richer understanding of people, place, and space across the life course.

Description

University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2018. Major: Geography. Advisor: Susan Craddock. 1 computer file (PDF); 247 pages.

Related to

Replaces

License

Collections

Series/Report Number

Funding information

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

Suggested citation

Finlay, Jessica. (2018). Cities of (In)Difference: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Place and Wellbeing In Later Life. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/216152.

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.