Open Access Open Badges Research

Spatial access to residential care resources in Beijing, China

Yang Cheng1*, Jiaoe Wang2 and Mark W Rosenberg3

Author Affiliations

1 School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, 19 Xinjiekouwai Avenue, Beijing, 100875, China

2 Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China

3 Department of Geography, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

International Journal of Health Geographics 2012, 11:32  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-11-32

Published: 9 August 2012



As the population is ageing rapidly in Beijing, the residential care sector is in a fast expansion process with the support of the municipal government. Understanding spatial accessibility to residential care resources by older people supports the need for rational allocation of care resources in future planning.


Based on population data and data on residential care resources, this study uses two Geographic Information System (GIS) based methods – shortest path analysis and a two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method to analyse spatial accessibility to residential care resources.


Spatial accessibility varies as the methods and considered factors change. When only time distance is considered, residential care resources are more accessible in the central city than in suburban and exurban areas. If care resources are considered in addition to time distance, spatial accessibility is relatively poor in the central city compared to the northeast to southeast side of the suburban and exurban areas. The resources in the northwest to southwest side of the city are the least accessible, even though several hotspots of residential care resources are located in these areas.


For policy making, it may require combining various methods for a comprehensive analysis. The methods used in this study provide tools for identifying underserved areas in order to improve equity in access to and efficiency in allocation of residential care resources in future planning.

Spatial accessibility; Residential care; Shortest path analysis; Two-step floating catchment area method; Planning