Developing Age-Friendly Cities and Communities: Experiences from the UK , Brazil and India

Ryan Woolrych, Judith Sixsmith, Deborah Menezes, Jennifer Fisher, Michael Murray, Rebecca Lawthom, Harry Smith, Soledad Garcia-Ferrari

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Population ageing and urbanisation have become dominant trends, raising issues for cities and communities across the developing and developed world in terms of how best to support older adults to successfully age-in-place. On the one hand, if designed effectively, urban areas can provide the conditions for active ageing e.g. access to transport, close proximity to services and amenities and opportunities for participation. Yet urban areas in their current form often create barriers to active ageing (e.g. feelings of insecurity and vulnerability) resulting in loneliness, isolation, and exclusion. In response to this, delivering urban environments that support and promote healthy living for older people has become a key driver of urban policy and interventions e.g. through the WHO Age-Friendly Cities initiative. However, existing guidelines and frameworks for designing age-friendly cities and communities often assume a generic, one-size fits all approach to ageing which fails to capture how older adults age-in-place across different community, city and national contexts.

    To address this gap, this paper draws upon findings from two existing Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded projects exploring experiences of ageing in place across 9 cities and 27 neighbourhoods in the UK, India and Brazil. This includes in-depth qualitative data gathered through over 300 semi-structured interviews, walk-along interviews and photo diaries. We present four specific themes emerging from the research which were central to the experiences of older adults: connected communities, changing mobilities, negotiating social participation, and realising civic engagement. The paper identifies and draws out recommendations for the design and delivery of urban environments, particularly how age-friendly cities can better support ageing-in-place. Addressing what older people deem important for ageing and place across different urban, social and cultural settings is essential for developing age friendly policies, programmes and interventions that support quality of life in old age.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019
    EventRoyal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG): Annual International Conference 2019 - London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 28 Aug 201930 Aug 2019


    ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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