project . 2012 - 2014 . Closed

Population ageing and Urbanisation: Developing Age-Friendly Cities

UK Research and Innovation
Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: ES/J019631/2
Funded under: ESRC Funder Contribution: 24,845 GBP
Status: Closed
01 Nov 2012 (Started) 31 Oct 2014 (Ended)

The World Health Organization (WHO) model of 'age-friendly cities' emphasizes the theme of supportive urban environments for older citizens. These defined as encouraging 'active ageing' by 'optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age' (WHO, Global Age-friendly Cities, 2007). The goal of establishing age-friendly cities should be seen in the context of pressures arising from population ageing and urbanisation. By 2030, two-thirds of the world's population will reside in cities, with - for urban areas in high-income countries - at least one-quarter of their populations aged 60 and over. This development raises important issues for older people: To what extent will cities develop as age-friendly communities? Will so-called global cities integrate or segregate their ageing populations? What kind of variations might occur across different types of urban areas? How are different groups of older people affected by urban change? The 'age-friendly' city perspective has been influential in raising awareness about the impact of population ageing. Against this, the value of this approach has yet to be assessed in the context of modern cities influenced by pressures associated with global social and economic change. The IPNS has four main objectives: first, to build a collaborative research-based network focused on understanding population ageing in the context of urban environments; second to develop a research proposal for a cross-national study examining different approaches to building age-friendly cities; third to provide a systematic review of data sets and other resources of relevance to developing a research proposal on age-friendly cities; fourth, to develop training for early career resarchers working on ageing and urban issues. The network represents the first attempt to facilitate comparative research on the issue of age-friendly cities. It builds upon two meetings held at the Universities of Keele and Manchester in 2011 that sought to establish the basis for cross-national work around the 'age-friendly' theme. The IPNS represents brings together world class research groups in Europe, Hong Kong and North America, professionals concerned with urban design and architecture, and leading NGOs working in the field of ageing. A range of activities have been identified over the two-year funding period: (1) Preparation of research proposals for a cross-national study of approaches to developing age-friendly urban environments. (2) Two workshops to specify theoretical and methodological issues raised by demographic change and urbanisation. (3) A Summer School exploring links between data resources of potential relevance to the ageing and urbanisation theme and which might underpin research proposals. (4) Master classes for network members from key researchers in the field of urbanisation and ageing. (5) A workshop with a user-based theme developing older people's participation in research on building age-friendly communities. (6) Themed workshops (face-to-face and via video-link) to identify research and policy gaps drawing on inter-disciplinary perspectives The IPNS will be sustained in a variety of ways at the end of the funding period. A collaborative research proposal as well as one to maintain the network will be major outputs from the project and work with potential funding bodies will continue after 2014. Dissemination activities will continue through professional networks, symposia at major international conferences, and involvement in expert meetings. The project will continue to be advertised through the maintenance of a website maintained by the host UK HEI. The project will continue to make a contribution to policy development around the theme of age-friendly cities, notably with the main NGOs working in the field.

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