Urban greenery mitigates the negative effect of urban density on older adults' life satisfaction : Evidence from Shanghai, China

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Dongsheng He
  • Jia Miao
  • Yimeng Song
  • Ye Liu


Original languageEnglish
Article number103607
Journal / PublicationCities
Online published25 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


The influence of high-density environment on urban residents is controversial, and its effect varies with specific contexts. Meanwhile, urban planners and policy-makers are increasingly aware that urban greenery may mitigate the detrimental effects of crowded environments on quality of life in high-density cities. However, little empirical evidence is available in the context of China. This study aims to examine the complex relationship between urban density, urban greenery, and older people's life satisfaction, with survey data collected from 1,594 older adults in 129 neighborhoods in Shanghai, China. Urban density was assessed using floor area ratio and building coverage ratio respectively, and urban greenery was measured by street view greenery, greening rate, Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI), and accessibility to nearest parks. Results from structural equation modeling showed that higher urban density was related to lower life satisfaction, and a reduced sense of community was a significant pathway between higher urban density and lower life satisfaction. Furthermore, eye-level greenery cushioned the negative effect of urban density on life satisfaction. Our findings highlighted the necessity of optimizing high-density neighborhood environments and promoting eye-level greenery in high-density urban areas to create aging-friendly cities.

Research Area(s)

  • China, Life satisfaction, Older adults, Urban density, Urban greenery