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  Optimising Urban Environments to Promote Active Ageing

   School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

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  Prof Afroditi Stathi  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This PhD studentship is in the area of Urban Well-being and Active Ageing. It aims to identify ways for optimising urban environments for older adults adopting approaches that can lead to physical activity promotion that are tailored, valued, sustainable and effective. The research focus will involve employing an innovative participatory research approach, where the successful applicant will engage with older people, community leaders and other key stakeholders. This exciting, cutting edge research will provide unique opportunities to work closely with the supervisory team and external partners to co-create urban environments that support older adults to be more physically and socially active.

The overall aim of this thesis will be to identify barriers to and facilitators of active, healthy ageing through assessing diverse geographical and socio-economic urban environments in which older adults live. The outcomes of this research may include: a) an enhanced understanding of the impact of natural and built environments on lifestyle choices and the experience of ageing in urban environments; and b) guidance on how to better plan good-quality public recreational spaces including green and blue open spaces that are consistent with the principles of safe, universal, age-friendly and equitable access to reduce inequalities.

The successful applicant will be supervised by Dr Afroditi Stathi and colleagues at the University of Birmingham and will conduct a series of studies targeting the promotion of active, healthy ageing in urban environments. The exact nature of the research will emerge over the course of the PhD, with input from the student, the supervisory team and via grassroots community engagement, co-development and ownership.  The successful candidate will become a member of the Global Citizen Science Network1 and benefit from its global reach and supportive resources (

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Business & Management (5) Geography (17) Medicine (26) Psychology (31)


King, A.C., King, D.K., Banchoff, A.,Solomonov, S., Natan, O.B., Hua, J., Gardiner, P., Lisa Goldman-Rosas, L., Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Winter, S.J., Sheats, J., Salvo, D., Aguilar-Farias, N., Stathi, A., Akira Hino, A., Porter, M. (2020). Employing Participatory Citizen Science Methods to Promote Age-Friendly Environments Worldwide. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(5), 1541;
Pykett, J., Chrisinger, B., Kalliopi, K., Osborne, T., Resch, B., Toth, E., Stathi, A., and Whittaker, A.C. (2020). Developing a Citizen Social Science approach to understand urban stress and promote wellbeing in urban communities. Special issue on Citizen Social Science, Palgrave Communications, 6, 1, 1-11.
Hinckson, E., Schneider, M., Winter, S. J., Stone, E., Puhan, M., Stathi, A., Porter, M. M. ., Gardiner, P. A., Lopes dos Santos, D., Wolff, A. & King, A. C. (2017). Citizen Science applied to building healthier community environments: advancing the field through shared construct and measurement development. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 14, 133.

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 About the Project