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Atiya Mahmood

Associate Professor | Graduate Program Chair

Dr. Atiya Mahmood is an Associate Professor at the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. She has a PhD in Architecture/Environment-Behaviour Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her training is in environmental gerontology and her research focuses on health and built environments for older adults with a specific interest in neighbourhood environments, mobility/walkability, active living and pro-social behaviour/social engagement of diverse groups of older adults in community-based and supportive housing. She has over two decades experience in qualitative and mixed methods research in the areas of environment-behaviour studies and aging and built environment.

Dr. Mahmood has served on the Boards of Environment Design Research Association (EDRA) and Housing Education Research Association (HERA). She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Aging and Environment. Her research interests are in health and the built environment with a focus on aging in the 'right' place, housing for older adults, seniors' housing insecurity and homelessness, neighbourhood urban design, mobility and participation of older adults and person's with disability.  She is an Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation Fellow in the Experienced Researcher Category.  She has been PI and  co-I on several grants related to aging, mobility, social participation, socio-spatial environment and health.  Funders include Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Vancouver Foundation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), CapitalCare Foundation and Coalition of Health Environments Research (CHER). Her current funded projects include: Towards Barrier-Free Communities: A Partnership for Improving Mobility, Access and Participation (MAP) Among People with Disabilities (2020-2027) - Funding Agency- SSHRC;  Aging in the Right Place: Building Capacity for Promising Practices that Support Older People Experiencing Homelessness in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. (2020-2025) Funding Agency: CMHC-SSHRC.


  • PhD (Architecture) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • MSc (Environmental Design) University of Missouri
  • BArch (Architecture) Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology


Book Chapters

  • Mahmood, A., Labbe, D. (2021).  Mobility and participation barriers and facilitators in the urban environment captured through user-led audits and photovoice by older adults with mobility disability. In M.D. Hartt, S. Biglieri, M. Rosenberg & S. Nelson (Eds.), Aging people aging places (pp. 27-44).  Policy Press: Bristol, UK
  • Seetharaman, K., Chaudhury, H., & Mahmood, A. (2021). A conceptual framework of the person–environment interaction in the neighbourhood among persons living with dementia: A focus on out-of-home mobility. In R. Ward & A. Clark (Eds.), Dementia and Place: Practices, Experiences and Connections (pp. 113–134). Policy Press.
  • Kadowaki, L., & Mahmood, A. (online, January, 2020). Senior Centers. In D. Gu & M.E. Dupre, Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer.
  • Mahmood, A. & Keating, N. (2012). Inclusive built environment for older adults. In T. Scharf & N. Keating (Eds.), From exclusion to inclusion in old age: A global challenge (pp.145-165) UK: The Policy Press.
  • Mahmood, A. & Martin-Matthews, A. (2008). Dynamics of carework: Boundary management and relationship issues for home support workers and home care recipients. In A Martin-Matthews and J. Phillips (Eds.), Aging and caring at the intersection of work and home life: Blurring the boundaries. (pp.21-41). New York: Taylor and Francis.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Mahmood, A., Seetharaman, K., Ford, H-T., Chaudhury, H. (2021). Contextualizing innovative housing models and services within the age-friendly communities framework. The Gerontologist
  • Gan, D. R. Y., Mahmood, A., Routhier, F., & Mortenson, W. B., (2021). Walk/wheelability: An inclusive instrument-pair for participatory aging-friendly research and practice. The Gerontologist
  • Mortenson, W. B., Routhier, F., Mahmood, A., Prescott, M., Labbé, D., Martin Ginis, K.A. & Miller, W. C. (Accepted, 2021). Predictors of Psychological Distress and Confidence Negotiating Physical and Social Environments among Mobility Device Users. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 
  • Canham, S., Humphries, J., Moore, P., Burns, V. & Mahmood, A (2021). Shelter/housing options, supports and interventions for older people experiencing homelessness. Ageing and Society. 1-27. [http://doi:10.1017/S0144686X21000234] http://doi:10.1017/S0144686X21000234
  • Herbolsheimer, F., Mahmood, A., Michael, YL., Chaudhury, H.(Online, 2020). Everyday walking among older adults and the neighbourhood built environment: A comparison between two cities in North America. Frontiers in Public Health. [http://doi:10.33389/pubh.2020.564533] http://doi:10.33389/pubh.2020.564533 
  • Herbolsheimer, F., Mahmood, A., Ungar,N.,  Michael, YL., Oswald, F., Chaudhury, H. (Online, 2020). Perceptions of the neighborhood built environment for walking behavior in older adults living in close proximity. Journal of Applied Gerontology. [http://doi:10.1177/0733464820979258] http://DOI:10.1177/0733464820979258
  • Labbé, D., Mahmood, A., Miller, W.C, & Mortenson, W.B., (2020). Examining the impact of knowledge mobilization strategies to inform urban stakeholders on accessibility: A mixed-methods study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), 17, 1561. doi:10.3390/ijerph17051561
  • Lay, J., Fung, H., Jiang, D., Lau, C. H., Mahmood, A., Graf, P. & Hoppmann, C. (2020). Solitude in context: On the role of culture, immigration, and acculturation in the experience of time to oneself. International Journal of Psychology Vol 55 (4)562-571. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12641 (online 2019)
  • Lay, J. C., Pauly, T., Graf, P., Mahmood, A., & Hoppmann, C. A. (2020). Choosing solitude: Age differences in situational and affective correlates of solitude-seeking in midlife and older adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 75, Issue 3, March 2020, Pages 483–493.  (accepted 2018)
  • Mahmood, A., O’Dea, E., Bigonnesse, C., Mahal, T., Labbe, D., Saddiq, S., Qureshi, M., & Mortenson, W.B., (2019). Stakeholders walkability/wheelability audit in neighbourhoods (SWAN): User-led audits and photo documentation. Disability & Society. DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2019.1649127 (published online Aug, 2019)
  • Pauly, T., Lay, J., Kozik, P., Graf, P., Mahmood, A. & Hoppmann, C. (Accepted, August 2019). Technology, physical activity, loneliness and cognitive functioning in old age. The Journal of Geropsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry (GeroPsych).
  • Atoyebi, O, Labbé, D., Prescott, M., Mahmood, A., Routhier, F., Miller, W., Mortenson, W B (Accepted, April, 2019). Mobility challenges among older adult mobility device users. Manuscript accepted for publication in Current Geriatrics Reports
  • Tong, C., McKay H. Martin-Matthews, A., Mahmood, A. & Sims-Gould, J. (2019). “These few blocks, these are my village”: The physical activity and mobility of foreign-born older adults. The Gerontologist.
  • Routhier, F., Mortenson, W. B., Demers, L., Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., Martin Ginis, K., & Miller, W. C. (2018) Mobility and participation of people with disabilities using mobility assistive technologies: A protocol to identify psychosocial and physical environmental barriers and facilitators. JMIR Research Protocols. doi:10.2196/12089
  • Canham, S. L., & Mahmood, A. (published online, Aug. 2018). The use of personas in gerontological education. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.
  • Bigonnesse, C., Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., Mortenson, W.B., Miller, W.C., Martin Ginis, K.A. (Published online, April, 2018) The role of neighbourhood physical environment on mobility and social participation among people using mobility assistive technology: A systematic review. Disability and Society. 33(6).
  • Kadowaki, L. & Mahmood, A. (2018). Senior Centres in Canada and the US: A scoping review. Canadian Journal of Aging. Published online on Sept. 2018.
  • Lay, J. C., Pauly, T., Graf, P., Mahmood, A., & Hoppmann, C. A. (2018). Choosing solitude: Age differences in situational and affective correlates of solitude-seeking in midlife and older adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. Advance online publication. .
  • Stalman, M., Canham, S., Mahmood, A. King, D. & O Rouke, N. (2018). Aspects of control and substance use among middle-aged and older adults with bipolar disorder. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27, 833–840
  • Canham, S., Mahmood, A, Stalman, M., King, D. & O'Rourke, N (2017): Personal theories of substance use among middle-aged and older adults with bipolar disorder, Aging & Mental Health, DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2017.1299689
  • Koehn, S., Mahmood, A., Stott-Eveneshen, S. (2016). Quality of life framework for diverse older adults in assisted living: The centrality of control. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 7-8, 512-526
  • Chaudhury, H., Campo, M., Michael, Y., & Mahmood, A. (2016). Neighborhood environment and physical activity in older adults. Social Science & Medicine. 149, 104-113. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.12.011
  • Canham, S., Mahmood, A., Stott, S., Sixsmith, J. & O Rourke (2014). ‘Til divorce do us part: Marriage dissolution in later life. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(8), 591-612. DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2014.959097
  • Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., Gaumont, A. & Rust, T. (2012). The effect of physical environment on medication errors in long-term care. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance. 25(5), 431-441 doi: 10.1108/09526861211235928
  • Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., Michael, Y., Hay, K., Campo, M., & Sarte, A. (2012). A photovoice documentation of the role of neighborhood physical and social environments in older adults’ physical activity in two metropolitan areas in North America. Social Science and Medicine, 74(8), 1180-1192.
  • Chaudhury, H., Mahmood, A., Michael, Y.L., Campo, M., & Hay, K. (2012). The influence of neighborhood residential density, physical and social environments on older adults' physical activity: An exploratory study in two metropolitan areas. Journal of Aging Studies, 26 (1), 35–43.
  • Chaudhury, H., Sarte, A., Michael, Y.L., Mahmood, A., Keast, E., Dogaru, C., & Wister, A. (2011). Use of a Systematic Observational Measure to Assess and Compare Walkability for Older Adults in Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon neighborhoods. Journal of Urban Design, 16(4), 433-454
  • Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., Sarte, A. & Yon, Y. (2011). A comparative study on the effect of housing characteristics and living arrangements on well-being of immigrant and non-immigrant older adults in Canada. Housing and Society, 37(2), 25-52
  • Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., & Valente, M. (2011). Nurses’ Perception of the Role of Environmental Design on Nursing and Medication Errors in Acute Care Settings. Applied Nursing Research, 24, 229–237.
  • Chaudhury, H., Mahmood, A., & Valente, M. (2009). The effect of environmental design on reducing nursing errors and Increasing Efficiency in Acute Care Settings: A Review and Analysis of the Literature. Environment and Behavior. 41(6), 755-786
  • Mahmood, A, Chaudhury, H., & Gaumont, A. (2009). The Effect of Physical and Organizational Environments on Medication Errors in Long-Term Care: A Review of the Literature. Health Environments Research and Design Journal. Winter, 42-59
  • Michael, Y, McGregor, E., Chaudhury, H., Day, K., Mahmood, A., Sarte, (2009). Revising the senior walking environmental assessment tool. Preventive Medicine, 48 (3),247-249
  • Mahmood, A., Yamamoto, T., Lee, M., & Steggell, C. (2008). Use and perception of gerotechnology: Implications for ‘aging in place.’ Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 21(1/2). 104-126.
  • Mahmood, A, Chaudhury, H., & Kobayashi, K (2008). The housing and community characteristics of South Asian immigrant older adults in Greater Vancouver. The Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 25(1), 54-75.
  • Chaudhury, H.,& Mahmood. A. (2008). Immigrants’ residential experience in North America: An overlooked area in environmental design research. The Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 25(1), 1-5.
  • Mahmood, A. (2007). Work and home boundaries: Socio-spatial analysis of women’s live-work environments. Housing and Society, 34(1), 77-100.
  • Chaudhury, H., Mahmood, A., & Maria Valente (2006). Nurses’ preference for single versus multi-occupancy patient rooms in acute care environments: An exploratory comparative assessment. Applied Nursing Research, 18(3), 118-125
  • Chaudhury, H., Mahmood, A., & Valente, M. (2005). Advantages and Disadvantages of Single vs. Double Occupancy Patient Rooms in Acute Care Environments: A Review and Analysis of the Literature. Environment and Behavior, 37(6), 760-786.

Knowledge Mobilization

Selected Works

  • Mahmood, A., Labbe, D, Mahal, T. and Mortenson, B., dEMAND Research Team. (producer/writer) and Eric Sanderson (Videographer/director) (2017). On the Move: Wheeling the Walk (New Westminster). Available:
    • Funding: SFU Community Engagement Funds
  • Mahmood, A., Labbe, D, Eireann O Dea. and Mortenson, B., dEMAND Research Team. (producer/writer) and Eric Sanderson (Videographer/director) (2018). On the Move: Connecting to the Community (North Vancouver). Available:
    • Funding: Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP), This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
  • Mahmood, A., Labbe, D, Eireann O Dea. and Mortenson, B., dEMAND Research Team. (producer/writer) and Eric Sanderson (Videographer/director) (2018). On the Move: Navigating the Neighbourhood (Vancouver) Available:
    • Funding: Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP), This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Environmental gerontology with a focus on: the interconnections of aging; the built environment; health