Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Age-friendly cities respond to residents' needs

In just 15 years, 60 % of people will live in a city and a quarter of those will be over 60 years old. An age-friendly agenda will help Europe's cities adjust to the changing needs of their populations.
Age-friendly cities respond to residents' needs
The AGE-FRIENDLY (Promoting active ageing: Developing age-friendly cities) project has looked at how to design and deliver 'age-friendly' cities. Inherently interdisciplinary, an advisory board and project team covered relevant aspects of social geography, psychology, environmental gerontology, urban design, architecture and epidemiology.

The AGE-FRIENDLY focus centred on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of 'active ageing' – continued participation in all aspects of social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic life. To do so, the team identified issues which older residents themselves think are critical to develop age-friendliness and involved older people as key actors in the planning and implementation of the study.

Training for the role of co-investigator was given to 18 older residents aged between 58 and 74 years. Core components of the course included designing research materials, interviewing techniques, data analysis and translating findings into practice. The co-researchers conducted 68 interviews across three neighbourhoods in Manchester with older people who were experiencing social exclusion, isolation, poverty or health problems.

Recommendations from the results of the survey include a mechanism for empowering older people and enabling broad social participation. The data also brought attention to the fact that citizens' rights must be fulfilled so that they can fully use the resources of a city. Moreover, results stressed that social and physical constraints may hinder the lives of older people in many ways in an urban environment.

The work has attracted the interest of the WHO and has been presented at the United Nations in New York, Age UK, Age Platform Europe and other organisations working on issues surrounding ageing. Greater Manchester plans to use the outcomes of the project to develop age-friendly neighbourhoods on a regional basis. In particular, the Big Lottery funded 'Ambition for Ageing' programme will address social exclusion and harness the conclusions of the AGE-FRIENDLY study.

The co-researchers involved in the study have formed a permanent group and intend to apply for funding for age-friendly initiatives. The movement for involving older residents as leaders and visionaries in their own future will be an inspiration to all those involved in the development of urban communities.

Related information


Age-friendly cities, AGE-FRIENDLY, urban, training, co-investigator
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