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App: Senior Harbour

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Mission statement

The third United Nations Sustainable Development Goal is “good health and well-being to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (UN 2020). The government of Canada has committed to working towards these goals. As seniors represent a growing portion of Canada’s population, promoting health and well-being for seniors is an important part of meeting this goal. In fact, 23% of the population will be age 65 or older by 2030 (Canada 2019). Accessibility to suitable housing is an increasing concern to seniors and families, and accessibility to appropriate health resources is often a key consideration in locating suitable housing. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (2016), 50% of seniors’ housing structures have access to on-site medical services, 40% have on-site exercise facilities, and less than 10% have access to a pharmacy. These statistics suggest that many seniors are dependent on health services in their surrounding neighbourhood. Furthermore, 90% of Canadians aged 65 and over live with one or more chronic diseases or conditions, making access to hospitals and medical services essential.

How then, should Canadian seniors and families decide where to spend their retirement years? The Senior Harbour app has been designed to help meet these needs in the Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia. The goal of the app is to identify local retirement living and nursing home options and their proximity to key health services and determinants, including: hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies, recreational facilities, and green spaces accessible to seniors. With this knowledge made easily accessible, seniors and their families can feel greater confidence when making housing decisions as they directly impact health. The Senior Harbour app can be adapted to other Canadian cities and communities, and even to other locations across the globe.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2016). Seniors’ Housing Report. https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/sf/project/cmhc/pubsandreports/esub/_all_esub_pdfs/65991_2016_a01.pdf?rev=b80aec69-c0ce-43a6-9cb1-ca25723aa2a4.

Government of Canada. (2019-03-25). Action for Seniors Report. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/seniors-action-report.html#tc2a.

United Nations. (2020). Sustainable Development Goals. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/.

Video Presentation


Team Members

Kang Liang: (right) Kang is in his final year of his PhD in hydrology in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick. His research focuses on the evaluation of the impacts of anthropogenic activities on water quality and quantity from field to watershed scale by using hydrological models. He relies on GIS for geospatial analysis and data visualization in his research. He is excited with this opportunity through which he can apply his GIS knowledge as well as push his knowledge forward. In his spare time, Kang enjoys swimming, billiard, hiking, camping and music.

Heidi Harding: (middle) Heidi is a first year Master of Science in Forestry student. Her research is looking at the availability and usage of nesting habitat by cavity-nesting ducks in the lower Saint John River floodplain. GIS is an integral part of her research, allowing her to identify habitat-level characteristics that may help determine nesting habitat use. Her research is supported by Ducks Unlimited Canada, who will use her results to help inform management and conservation actions. She has a background in biology, education, and technology training, and enjoys reading, painting, and gardening in her free time.

Huimin Hao: (left) Huimin is a Master of Science in Forestry in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick. Her current project is focused on the phenological and morphological response of tree seedlings to drought. She has the basic knowledge of ArcGIS and is interested in it. She hopes to improve her GIS knowledge through this study. In her daily life, she likes watching football matches, listening to music and exercising.