65 research outputs found

    Travelling beyond spatial analysis : the impact of temporal and personal restrictions on equitable access to opportunities

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    Concepts, reflections and applications of social equity: approaches to accessibility to primary goods and services in the region of Flanders, Belgium

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    Mobility presents a variety of opportunities as it allows users to access locations and services, and to meet people beyond their immediate surroundings. While the concept of mobility primarily focuses on the ease of moving, accessibility delineates the actual potential to participate in out-of-home activities. As a result, accessibility is a complex concept with a multitude of foci. This complexity is presented in the first section, which explains the general concept of accessibility, how it is defined and how it is related to the notion of transport-related exclusion. This section also gives an overview of the body of literature on the measures to determine area-based as well as personal accessibility levels and points out the important contrast between the simple, easy-to-interpret methods, adopted by policy makers and the complex methods preferred by experts. The second section clarifies how the dichotomous relationship between the urban and rural environment is reflected in transport policy that emphasizes on (especially car-based) mobility rather than on accessibility. Furthermore, the environmental and economic points of view are highlighted and the common policy strategies focused on sustainability are illustrated. Subsequently, the shortcomings in the way in which the contemporary debates concerning mobility, sustainability and the social implications of transport planning are conducted, are criticized. Finally, the last part of this section is dedicated to an extensive discussion on the ability of transport policies to, on the one hand, generate spatially as well as temporally uneven accessibility effects that give preference to certain population groups above others, and on the other hand, their ability to strive for a more equitable distribution of transport services amongst the population. The third section proposes two methodologies for measuring transport-related social exclusion implemented in a literature-based case study in Flanders. These studies comprise the following topics: measuring transport gaps by relating the social to the transport disadvantage and measuring modal disparities by comparing accessibility by private and public transport. The former investigates in which areas the provision of the public transport system is not tailored to specific public transport needs. The latter examines the disparity in access by private and public transport in order to highlight the car dependency. Both case studies incorporate the temporal variability in provision through the private and public transport network, as the time-of-day strongly influences accessibility levels

    The use of geographical applications for micro-planning school locations : the @SCHOOL app for preschools in Ghent, Belgium

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    Parallel with the increased use of internet technology, more and more data becomes freely accessible\ However, most of this data is only available in its raw form and centrally managed and thus not legible or applicable for non-professionals. Especially for primary needs such as health care or education, the availability of relevant information for inhabitants is crucial in improving their quality of life. Because education is one of the focal points in regional as well as in local policy, a dataset containing detailed information about school locations and characteristics was compiled on the regional level Flanders. However, this data is centrally owned and not made accessible for the public by a user-friendly tool. Therefore, a geographical application was developed, aimed at improving inhabitants' access to information concerning preschool locations in Ghent (Belgium). The combination of two open source programs (Google Docs and ESRI ArcGIS Online) makes it possible to centrally update the tool and make it available for all internet users in real-time. In the first phase, local authorities as well as civilians are able to request all relevant information (i.e. school name, school address, capacity, Google street view) about the selected nursery school in Ghent by implementing this user-friendly and open source tool. Furthermore, the tool can be used to determine which preschool is closest to a specific address. In the next phase, the dataset used in the application will be extended to contain information concerning all primary schools of the Flemish community. Today, the application is used by different local authorities as a tool for policy support and is available to inhabitants in Ghent in the process of enrolment ('Central Application Register' or CAR). The convenient and intuitive interface makes the tool inclusive for poorly-educated parents or internet illiterates

    Evaluating spatial and social inequality by using GIS to analyze the catchment area and capacity of preschools in Ghent, Belgium

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    The growing popularity of the city as a qualitative living environment has an explicit and distinct impact on all regional cities in Flanders (Belgium). As a result of the pressure exerted by the increase in population, different kinds of spatial and social inequality can be perceived for multiple urban functions, for example for the educational system. Pupils of primary schools (in Flanders children between the age of 2.5 and 12 years) living in densely populated areas characterised by a capacity shortage in education are forced to attend schools at greater distances, because the capacity of nearby schools is exceeded. As a consequence, parents setting up camp in front of the school gates during enrolment periods are an annually recurring phenomenon. Methods pinpointing areas where problems concerning capacity are to be expected are missing. The research at hand used two different methods (short-term and long-term) to analyse the pressure exerted on preschools as a result of the growing urban population. The first analysis researched the change in capacity needs of preschools taking into account the rise of the number of children between the ages of 2 and 5 years to be expected over the next two years. The second analysis predicted the impact of urban growth on the accessibility to preschools. Instead of prognoses in overall population growth, the supply of new housing units from 2013 till 2025 was used to predict the rise in the number of children between the ages of 2.5 and 5.5 years for the next decade. Both analyses were validated for pre-schools in the city of Ghent, Flemish Region, Belgium and proved to be valuable tools to support local policy in education. The results indicated areas with considerable capacity and accessibility problems, on the short term as well as on the long term

    Car Dependency and Urban Form

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    In this editorial of the thematic issue on car dependency and urban form, we provide a concise bibliometric overview that examines the prevalence of the concept of car dependency in relation to the built environment. Furthermore, we delve into the prior call for papers and analyse how the various contributions align with the theme. Subsequently, we present an inclusive review of the 11 distinct contributions, employing a classification framework encompassing micro, meso, and macro perspectives. To conclude, we reflect briefly on the utility of the concepts of being car-less versus car-free, and we contemplate the potential ramifications of fleet electrification on the ongoing discourse surrounding car dependency

    Identifying public transport gaps using time-dependent accessibility levels

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    One of the concerns that has aroused much scholarly attention in transport geography lately is the extent to which public transport provision enables the less privileged population segments, especially those without privately owned motorized vehicles, to participate in activities that are deemed normal within the society they live in. This study contributes to this line of inquiry by proposing a methodology for identifying public transit gaps, a mismatch between the socially driven demand for transit and the supply provided by transit agencies. The methodology draws on the latest accomplishments in the field of modeling time-continuous, schedule-based public transport accessibility. Accessibility levels to key destinations are calculated at regular time intervals, and synoptic metrics of these levels over various peak and off-peak time windows are computed for weekdays and weekends. As a result, a temporally reliable picture of accessibility by public transport is constructed. The obtained index of public transport provision is compared to a public transport needs index based on the spatial distribution of various socio-demographics, in order to highlight spatial mismatches between these two indices. The study area consists of Flanders, which is the northern, Dutch-speaking region of Belgium. The results indicate that mainly suburban areas are characterized by high public transport gaps. Due to the time-variability of public transport frequencies, these gaps differ over time

    A set of pedagogical recommendations for improving the integrated approach to childhood overweight and obesity: A Delphi study

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    Background: Tackling the increasing global problem of childhood overweight and obesity requires an integrated approach. Studies increasingly emphasize the importance of the parents' role in interventions designed to prevent overweight in children. The aim of this study was to develop a unified set of recommendations for healthy parenting practices that can be applied by all professionals who work with children age 4-13 years and can contribute to strengthening the integrated approach to childhood overweight. Methods: A modified Delphi procedure was used to reach consensus regarding what these pedagogical recommendations should encompass. The 30 panelists were professionals and researchers who work with children age 4-13 in the domains of health care, overweight, parenting, education, nutrition, and/or sports. The procedure consisted of: i) extracting existing pedagogical recommendations from national guidelines and professional protocols, ii) appraising and prioritizing these recommendations in terms of relevance through two rounds of questionnaires, and iii) meeting to discuss and approve the set of recommendations. Results: Consensus was reached for one set of eleven pedagogical theme-based recommendations designed to support and instruct parents how to stimulate healthy energy balance-related behaviors in their child. Each recommendation contained information regarding: i) which behaviors in the child and/or parent are important, ii) why this is important, and iii) how parents can stimulate this behavior by applying parenting skills in daily life. The eleven themes were: modeling, positive parenting, breakfast, varied diet, sugar-sweetened beverages, snacks, physical activity, playing sports, quantity of screen time, screen time during meals, and sleep. Conclusion We developed a set of recommendations for healthy parenting that can be used by various professionals working with children age 4-13 and can contribute to creating an integrated approach to childhood overweight. We also developed a web-based app called “Recommendations for Healthy Parenting” as a convenient tool for following these recommendations

    The effectiveness of a web-based Dutch parenting program to prevent overweight in children 9–13 years of age:Results of a two-armed cluster randomized controlled trial

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    INTRODUCTION: Although parental support is an important component in programs designed to prevent overweight in children, current programs pay remarkably little attention to the role of parenting. We therefore developed a web-based parenting program entitled “Making a healthy deal with your child”. This e-learning program can be incorporated into existing overweight prevention programs. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of this e-learning program. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The effectiveness was examined in a two-armed cluster randomized controlled trial. The participants were 475 parent-child dyads of children 9–13 years of age in the Netherlands who participated in an existing schoolclass-based overweight prevention program. At the school grade level, parents were randomly assigned to either the intervention or the control condition. Measurements were taken from both parents and children at baseline, and 5 and 12 months after baseline. Primary outcomes included the child’s dietary and sedentary behavior, and level of physical activity. Secondary outcomes included general parenting style, specific parenting practices, and parental self-efficacy. Linear mixed effects models and generalized linear mixed effects models were conducted in R. RESULTS: Intention-to-treat analyses and completers only revealed no significant effects between the intervention and control condition on energy balance-related behaviors of the child and parenting skills after correction for multiple testing. The parents’ mean satisfaction with the e-learning program (on a 10-point scale) was 7.0±1.1. CONCLUSIONS: Although parents were generally satisfied with the parenting program, following this program had no significant beneficial effects regarding the children’s energy balance-related behaviors or the parenting skills compared to the control condition. This program may be more beneficial if used by high-risk groups (e.g. parents of children with unhealthy energy balance-related behaviors and/or with overweight) compared to the general population, warranting further study

    Parents' underestimation of their child's weight status. Moderating factors and change over time: A cross-sectional study

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    BACKGROUND: Parents' underestimation of their child's weight status can hinder active participation in overweight prevention programs. We examined the level of agreement between the parents' perception of their child's weight status and the child's actual weight status, moderating factors, and change over time. METHODS: This cross-sectional study used data collected in 2009 (n = 8105), 2013 (n = 8844) and 2017 (n = 11,022) from a community-based survey conducted among parents of children age 2-12 years in the Netherlands. Parents classified their perception of their child's weight status on a 5-point Likert scale. In 2009 and 2013, the child's BMI was calculated from self-reported data by parents. The level of agreement between the parent's perception of the weight status and the actual weight status was examined using Cohen's kappa. The role of demographic factors on parents' perception were examined using logistic regression. RESULTS: In 2009, 2013 and 2017, 6%, 6% and 5% of the parents, respectively, classified their child as heavy/extremely heavy. In 2009 and 2013, 64.7% and 61.0% of parents, respectively, underestimated the weight status of their overweight child. This was even higher among parents of obese children. Overall, the agreement between the parents' perception and the actual weight status improved from 2009 (kappa = 0.38) to 2013 (kappa = 0.43) (p<0.05), but remained unsatisfactory. The parents' underestimation of their child's overweight/obesity status was associated with the child's age in 2009 and 2013 (2-7 years; OR: 0.18), the child's gender in 2009 (male; OR: 0.55), and the parents' education level in 2009 (middle and high education; OR: 0.56 and 0.44 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Parents' underestimation of their child's weight status remains alarmingly high, particularly among parents of young, obese children. This underestimation is a barrier to preventing childhood overweight/obesity. Healthcare professionals should take this underestimation into consideration and should actively encourage parents to take steps to prevent overweight/obesity in their children
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