Study on the Relationships between Behaviour Styles and Elderly
Livable Space in the North Area of China
Wang Hongyi, Zhou Bo, Ren Jie
and Guo Jia
School of Architecture and Fine Art, Dalian University of Technology, No.2 Linggong Road, Ganjingzi District, Dalian, China
Keywords: Elderly Institution, Facilities, Spatial Element, Behaviour Style.
Abstract: The numbers of the elderly more than 60 years old have 1.67 billion in Chinaaccounting for 13 percent of
the total population. However, only 3% of the elderly population can enjoy services of the endowment
facilities. Therefore, How to improve the living environment of the elderly is still an important issue in the
field of our urban and rural development. This thesis is based on the north of China. It takes some elderly
institutions in the city Dalian as research objects. The research is for a pattern of a suitable living space for
old people as a master line, try to find the relationship between the spatial constitution and living behaviour,
elaborates the basic spatial characteristics of the research objects, then discussed the relevance of the
formation and spatial composition through the analysis of questionnaire. Then in results of analysis, it
proposes some spatial constitution models which are adapt to the northern area in China, provides scientific
basis and perfect technical reference to design, construction, management and development of architecture
for aged people.
The developing countries stepped into the aging
society with the advances in medical and health care.
According to the relevant studies, the aging has
become a worldwide problem. At present, it is
emerged for the first time in the history that the
older population is more than the total population of
infants. In the future, both of the older population
and the proportion in China will be the No.1 in the
world. China will face serious challenges. From the
20th century, China has stepped into the aging
society (Fig.1). More and more people began to
accept elderly institution as their pension place.
Those Medium-sized institutions are very welcome.
Elderly institution is a kind of social institution.
Elderly who live in there get the financial aid from
country, family or themselves. The institution can
provide basic necessities and other services for
Dalian is an ideal place for pension. As it has a
good geographical environment and climatic
conditions. So far, there are 267 elderly facilities and
96 facilities of them are elderly institution, as shown
in Fig.2. However, there is a serious fact that we can
not ignore. Most of these institutions have some
problems in space utilization. So, the paper based on
the behaviour of the elderly, by classifying space
and analyzing the relationship between spatial
elements and elderly behaviour, come to a
conclusion. The conclusion can play a role in how to
improve the quality of elderly persons’ life.
This thesis is based on the north of China. It takes
some elderly institutions in the city of Dalian as
research objects. After the status survey, it analyzed
the following four dimensions around the spatial
constitution and domain forming: facility types,
spatial elements, the basic properties of the elderly
and the living behaviour. The thesis’s purpose is try
to find the relationship between the spatial
constitution and living behaviour, while try to
provide a technical basis for the National Natural
Science Foundation research project: Elderly
comfortable space model in the north area of China.
Hongyi, W., Bo, Z., Jie, R. and Jia, G.
Study on the Relationships between Behaviour Styles and Elderly Livable Space in the North Area of China.
In Doctoral Consortium (DCICT4AWE 2016), pages 10-14
Figure 1: Chinese population development trend.
Figure 2: Aged people quantity and way of endowment.
Table 1: Survey method and content.
The basic
situation of the
The basic condition of respondents’
facilities, year of build, type of
construction, the year of set up,
living condition, reconstruction, and
so on.
The interview
Operator's attributes, establishment
of motivation, management mode
Business methods, the elderly
condition, and so on.
Drawing plan, picture of furniture
and display detailed arrangement,
taking pictures, and so on.
4 Investigate
Observing action content of indoor
and outdoor and the use of space
condition for the old according to
time slot during one day.
The old man personal attributes,
health, family status, stay causes,
life behaviour , use of the place,
space satisfaction, needs and
expectations, and so on.
Reconfirm on contents of
investigation 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
This paper is supported by National Natural Science
Foundation of China (50778031).Based on checking
of existing research results we have not found
related research about space composition model and
the specific spatial form of aged people facility,
which is the starting point of this article. Innovation
of this research has the following several aspects:
Summarizing the basic plane constitute mode
of the endowment facilities in north China.
Combined with the related research in the
field of environmental behaviour analysis of
the relations between aged people’s behaviour
and architectural space.
The objects of this article are selected according to
their operational nature/scale and architectural form.
Since 2007, we have done the general survey,
interview surveys, mapping construction plan and so
on. After the initial data compilation, though the
observation survey, questionnaires, we get more
systematic data. Then, based on the sorting,
classification, analysis, statistics, induction and other
methods on those data get some valuable
conclusions. (Table 1)
Different building forms have different indoor
spaces. Different indoor spaces have different living
behaviour . Different living behaviours should be
treated in different design ways.
5.1 Spatial Classification and Spatial
Construction space is a complex. It is not only a
manifestation of building structures, but also rich in
many elements, such as spatial form, orientation,
scale, the relationship between furniture and
entrance and so on.
According to the openness of space usage, the
interior space can be divided into the following three
types: private space, semi-open space and open
space, as shown in Fig.3. This paper will take the
activity room and hall space as examples to discuss
the relationship between spatial elements and elderly
5.2 Elderly Behaviour Classification
There are four types of behaviour in this paper:
intimate communication, spontaneous communica-
tion, social communication and necessary
communication. Spatial quality of these four
Study on the Relationships between Behaviour Styles and Elderly Livable Space in the North Area of China
Figure 3: Types of space.
behaviour is decreasing in turn. Meanwhile, the
spatial quality is also proportional to the number of
behaviour (Fig.4).
Intimate communication: it appears in the
communication between friends and relatives.
It is the most closely communicative action.
Spontaneous communication: it appears where
the environmental conditions are suitable and
the spatial forms are attractive.
Social communication: affected few by
physical space form, it can appear in any time
and any where.
Necessary communication: it appears in public
space, such as say hello and so on. It is
affected by the people around.
Figure 4: Types of the old people’s behavior.
The relationships between the elderly behaviour and
the lobby hall and activity room are shown in Fig.5.
(1) ZSIn.: as it is located in a residential building, so
there is no lobby hall and activity room. Only the
living room can be used as a public place. In other
words, its function is equivalent to the other hall and
activity room. Its spatial form is just a simple cube
space. The interior furnishings are a table, a TV and
several chairs. Some fitness equipments piled up in
the balcony. Because of the lack of some functional
space, there are not enough activities for elderly to
choose. In the course of the investigation, we found
Figure 5: Relation between elements of space and behavior.
DCICT4AWE 2016 - Doctoral Consortium on Information and Communication Technologies for Ageing Well and e-Health
that most of the behaviour occurred between elderly
are social communication and necessary
communication. However, elderly person’s life
behaviour also changed the original use of space.
For examples, the balcony became into a fitness
room. It is a good phenomenon if not shielding the
main sunlight.
(2) DL-1In.: it is a functional organization. It has
separate activities rooms and lobby hall. During the
observation survey, we found the following points.
Lobby hall: The hall divided into two parts by
the middle aisle, as shown in Fig.7. The A part is
more popular than B. During nearly 6 hours
observation, we could see some elderly went to there
to have a rest or just take a walk, but no one went to
B part. The reason is that there is no any furniture in
B part. So we can say the spatial elements influence
elderly person’s life behaviour .
Activity room: each floor’s north rooms are
activity rooms in this institution. Their average area
is 35 m2. But we can see from these photos that
there are only few facilities and furniture. So these
rooms’ utilization rate is very low. If a large space
with no more division and design, it is not good for
elderly communication.
(3) DL-2In.: It is a classic elderly apartment building
with completely functions.
Lobby hall: The hall is also divided into two
parts (C and D), as is shown in Fig.7. In the south
part, there are only several chairs and reception
desk. Compared with C part, part D is a carefully
designed area. There is some good furniture, such as
sofa, tea table, book shelves and so on. But only few
elderly went there to stay a while. Why? Though
some interviews and analysis, we get the following
points: (a) the floor is raised 30 cm from the ground,
it is very hard for elderly up and down, although it is
a wooden floor. (b) it is not only far away from the
entrance, but also surrounded by some partitions, so
the sight is not very good. Elderly can’t see what
happened in other space when they set here.
Compared with DL-1In., we can see that both of
part A and D are south lobby hall. Although D has
comfortable furniture, A is more popular than D.
The reason is that A is near by the main entrance, it
is very convenient, as shown in Fig.8.
Activity room: there are big size and small size
activity rooms in each floor. Although all of them
are north room, those small size rooms are very
popular in elderly persons. The reason is that the
small size room is very suit for 4 to 6 people to use.
The main life activity of elderly is play cards and
one group is 4 to 6 people. This size of space and
this size group is very good for elderly to make
sense of field. So most of the behaviour occurred in
this place is spontaneous communication.
In addition, not only the size of space can
influence elderly persons’ behaviour , but also the
form of space. For example, the space near by the
window is very interesting in this institution, so
elderly like to stay there than any other place in one
room. Although we can’t exclude any other
elements, we can also come to the following
conclusion: interested forms of space and the
appropriate spatial scale can promote elderly
persons’ life behaviors.
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Zhou Yanmin, 2013. The Ministry of Residential and
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Wu Dongmei, Cheng Hongzhi, 1999. Urban Elderly
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Wang Jiangping, 2009. Older people’s Living External
Environmental Planning and Design, China Electric
Power Press. Beijing.
Study on the Relationships between Behaviour Styles and Elderly Livable Space in the North Area of China
Figure 6: Distribution of aged people facility in Dalian of China.
Figure 7: Summary of respondents.
DCICT4AWE 2016 - Doctoral Consortium on Information and Communication Technologies for Ageing Well and e-Health