Shaping Age-Friendly and Healthy Neighbourhoods with the Environment Audit Toolkit (EAT)
As Singapore's population ages, we need to work on all fronts to engage our seniors to stay fit and healthy. One lesser-known aspect which has a surprising effect on health is the environment - it can encourage people to go outdoors, increase their physical activity, and even interact more with others. The Environment Audit Toolkit (EAT) aims to investigate residents’ interactions with the built environment, identify barriers and enablers to the outdoor experience, and evaluate how these influence health behaviour and outcomes.
Community Improvement Walk at Yio Chu Kang (click the arrows for more photos)
Maxine Voon, Integrated Health Promotion, MOHT
Jonathan Ley, Integrated Health Promotion, MOHT
Over the past months, MOHT has been working closely with Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to enhance the EAT so that we can make the tool more user-friendly and accessible for communities and to help inform them about their neighbourhood. The EAT houses questions which cater for an age-friendly neighbourhood, covering seven broad categories using URA’s Age-Friendly Planning and Design Guidelines. For example, the tool includes aspects on connecting people and spaces in neighbourhoods, allowing residents to make use of common areas to hang out and interact.
As part of this ‘EAT-Lite’ pilot, the team developed an interim prototype app to host the EAT-Lite questions which allows residents to take photos and include feedback on specific areas.
Residents’ responses can help us understand their perspective on some of the barriers and enablers they may experience in the neighbourhood, and enable us to seek potential ways to improve, rejuvenate and re-imagine it.
In 2022, MOHT has planned for the EAT to be piloted in several precincts, starting with Yio Chu Kang and Queenstown. In Yio Chu Kang Zone 5 RC, we embarked on our community improvement walk with residents, Grassroots Leaders and Adviser Mr Hon Weng Yip.
Community Improvement Walk at Queenstown (click the arrows for more photos)
In Queenstown, MOHT partnered with Queenstown residents, Grassroots Adviser Mr Eric Chua and Grassroots Leaders to walk the grounds of Mei Ling and Stirling neighbourhood. It was heartening to see residents of all ages and varying mobility coming together to share insights on their interaction with the built environment.
As the EAT journey progresses into pilot sessions with community improvement walks in various neighbourhoods, MOHT will continue to look at ways to iterate and improve the interface for data collection and enable the results to contribute to various neighbourhood improvement programmes.
If you resonate with what we are doing to improve, rejuvenate and re-imagine our neighbourhoods in Singapore, join us as a volunteer facilitator together with residents in our next community improvement walk, via this email: [email protected]
We would like to acknowledge the support from our colleagues from partner agencies - Agency for Integrated Care (Singapore), GovTech Singapore, Housing & Development Board, Lions Befrienders, People's Association, Public Service Division, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore and Town Council - who came together with a shared purpose of improving the built environment for our citizens, towards building healthier and safer communities!