Spatial units of analysis: are there better ways? (Doctoral dissertation)

Project description

Thanks to a growing body of evidence from environmental health promotion research it does not come as a surprise to most of us that the physical environment can affect many aspects of our lives, and in particular our health. These effects are often investigated in the form of person-environment relationships. Although this may seem easy, it is anything but. A holistic understanding of these relationships requires that we study individuals’ behavior in space and decipher the many implicit involved mechanisms.
Particularly, one needs to know where the relevant geographical context is and how the relationships should be investigated. Answering these questions requires conceptual and methodological advancements in the field that have rarely been addressed so far.

Motivated by this research gap, the dissertation sets out to devise and demonstrate an empirical framework to incorporate novel geospatial approaches to study environmental health outcomes. The findings from this dissertation show how the geographical context can be more reliably modeled and empirically demonstrate how this can affect the research results. At the same time, this dissertation reports its empirical findings from Helsinki metropolitan area and sheds new light on various aspects of the person-environment relationships in this area.

The developed methods and reported findings from this study can be useful to a wide range of urban researchers and have important implications to the practice. The dissertation helps disambiguate some of the person-environment relationships. This can take urban research one step closer to one of its important goals: to guide planning and policy making processes toward more sustainable and health promoting urban designs.

This is the doctoral thesis project of Kamyar Hasanzadeh. Defended on 31.5.2019

Research themes

Project details

  • Start date:
    March 1, 2015
  • End date:
    May 31, 2019
  • Location:
    Espoo, Finland
  • Funded by:
    Aalto University (School of Engineering), Academy of Finland
  • Objectives:

Project contact

Kamyar Hasanzadeh

Aalto University

Participating partners

Related publications

Hasanzadeh, K. (2019). Spatial units of analysis: are there better ways? – An empirical framework for use of individualized activity space models in environmental health promotion research. Aalto University publication series Doctoral Dissertations 74/2019.

Hasanzadeh, K., Czepkiewicz, M., Heinonen, M., Kyttä, M., Ala-Mantila, S. & Ottelin, J. (2019). Beyond geometries of activity spaces: A holistic study of daily travel patterns, individual characteristics, and perceived wellbeing in Helsinki metropolitan area.  Journal of Transport and Land Use 12(1), 149-177.

Hasanzadeh, K., Laatikainen, T. & Kyttä, M. (2018). A place-based model of local activity spaces: individual place exposure and characteristics. Journal of Geographical Systems 20, 227-252.

Hasanzadeh, K., Broberg, A. & Kyttä, M. (2017). Where is my neighborhood? A dynamic individual-based definition of home ranges and implementation of multiple evaluation criteria. Applied Geography 84, 1-10.
Hasanzadeh, K. (2021). Use of participatory mapping approaches for activity space studies: a brief overview of pros and cons. GeoJournal, 1-16.

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