Designing Inclusive Cities from the Elderly Perspective

Ryser, Judith and Franchini, Teresa (2022) Designing Inclusive Cities from the Elderly Perspective. Mobility, Knowledge and Innovation Hubs in Urban and Regional Development. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2022, 27th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 229-237. ISSN 2521-3938

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Societies are aging rapidly worldwide which affects global, national and local economic structures. Such demographic change is attributed to increasing longevity and decreasing fertility, arguably due to higher living standards. International migration has also contributed to changing population age structures. According to the World Health Organisation the percentage of the population over the age of 60 will increase by 34% between 2020 and 2030, already exceeds that of children under five and will surpass young people between 15-24 by 2050. These trends led the UN and other international organisations to seek answers. UN World Assemblies on Ageing produced Plans of Action and principles for older persons, recognising their specific needs, most specifically exclusion, but also isolation, paternalism and neglect. Among others, WSIS focused on ICTs and older persons, DESA addressed elder abuse and UNIDOP adopted an age-inclusive agenda. UNDP stated that the UN Sustainable Development Gaols have to recognise older persons as active agents of societal development, not just vulnerable people, to achieve truly transformative, inclusive and sustainable development outcomes. WHO produced an international perspective of age-friendly cities and communities, set up an environment-friendly environments mentoring programme and a global database of age friendly practices. Many other international and intergovernmental organisations undertook initiatives for ageing societies with remarkable cooperation between them across their specialised fields. This paper focuses on digitalisation, intergenerational relations, and of course planning and design solutions for age-friendly cities, considering them of particular interest to professionals of the built environment. When examining scope for action it relates these issues to the four aspects related to the Leipzig Charter (discussed by the authors in their CORP 2021 contributions) – social: unwanted loneliness and technological neglect; economic: minimum pensions to cover the cost of living and in particular of ICT access; environmental: inadequacy of urban spaces and mobility provision; political: neglect of priorities for elder persons as opposed to ‘urgent’ ones; and enactment of labour legislation which tends to exacerbate age discrimination. A key issue emerging from this situation are the intergenerational effects of the treatment of old age. The paper explores what measures could be adopted in an ageing society to achieve a more equitable balance between the generations. This includes the response of young people to the comparative disadvantage of maintaining the current state of affairs for the elderly and whether they would support redress which may affect their relative advantages. The second part of the paper will explore how the decade of action in which international policies have focused on the elderly has translated into their everyday life and critically comment on selected results. it will attempt to identify how these actions distinguish themselves from other initiatives to provide for special needs, in response to research on ageing, such as that undertaken by ARUP, and whether the recommended interventions have managed to improve specifically the quality of life of the elderly. It will also refer to undertakings both in Spain and the UK. The paper will conclude by identifying more age-friendly urban developments and how planning and urban design practices could facilitate them.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ageing, design for special needs, user-friendly built environment, equal access
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: The CORP Team
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 07:51
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2022 14:13

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