The Relationship between the Physical Factors of Open Public Space and the Elderly’s Social Interaction: Case Study of an Urban Public Park in Phitsanulok


  • Nattida Jongrak Faculty of Architecture, Naresuan University
  • Nattika Navapan Faculty of Architecture, Naresuan University


social interaction, elderly, public space, public park


This study aimed to 1) study the elderly’s social interaction in open public spaces, and 2) study the relationship between the physical factors of open public spaces. For the case study a park area was selected as the open public space. It was Chom Nan Park, the garden in honor of His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary located in Project 1, Phitsanulok Province. Data was collected by the observation method, and analysis was carried out via descriptive statistics using the chi-square method. From the observation of 294 sample groups the results showed that the most common social interaction pattern was person-to-person (53.4%), followed by an individual with a group of 3-5 people (25.85%), whilst the least common was the group interaction type (2.72%). This study indicates that the social interaction of the elderly is similar to that of the general population in other age groups, yet there may be differences in the activity and duration that occur according to the condition of the elderly person’s body. The social interaction of the elderly is primarily just small group interaction, mostly with people they know, for example with friends or family members.

The results of the relationship test between the physical characteristics of the open public space and the social interaction of the elderly found only 5 relationships. However in order for the public space to fully meet the needs of the elderly, the researcher considers that other factors, not only interaction, should be taken into account. Such factors include designing an open space that is friendly to the elderly, creating an environment that is close to nature, improving the aesthetics of the environment, and making it conducive to recreation so helping the elderly to improve their health. Consideration of the satisfaction factor of the elderly is something that should be given priority. This is what all those involved within the design process should pay attention to so that the open public spaces can truly cater to the needs of people of all ages.


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