Making urban environments
Age-Friendly
(a brief introduction)

Sophie Handler
Manchester City Council / University of Manc...
WHO Age-Friendly movement
2007 WHO Guide to
Age-Friendly Cities
published
2010 first UK city joins
WHO Global Network of
A...
The eight interrelating domains
of an Age-Friendly city

1. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
2. Transportation
3. Housing
4. S...
What we mean by Age-Friendly
‘Outdoor Spaces and Buildings’
Key concerns
Key drivers
WHO checklist of inclusive features
• Inclusive Design
• Accessible environments
• Amenable environments
and public facili...
Design as ‘problem-solving’
from a ‘resistant’ to a supportive environment
• identifying problems, ‘barriers’, needs and c...
‘amplification of impact from micro
environmental aspects in older age’*
The way in which the smallest features of the bui...
‘wide and flat tarmac footways’
‘easy transition at level changes’
‘easily visible and understandable signage’
‘frequent, ...
‘frequent, warm, supportive seating’
Beyond the physical fabric…
The less tangible dimension of Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
•

people’s subjective perceptions...
Is age-friendly design friendly for all?
Alternative design responses…
or, what is design:
a temporary intervention?
a standardised feature?
a designed object?
a p...
Creating Age-Friendly spaces

> who needs to be engaged and involved?
> at what scales?
person > street > neighbourhood > ...
>
what would an AgeFriendly park look like?
Growing interest in this area
Research funding
ESRC Design, Mobility and Wellbeing

RIBA
Ageing focus for 2014

Emerging f...
Today
1. Learning from existing Age-Friendly practice
2. Sharing different methods and approaches
3. Thinking forward: nex...
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Introduction: Making Urban Environments Age-Friendly (UK Urban Ageing Consortium) UK Network of Age-Friendly Cities Built Environment Seminar (October 2013)

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  • 4 corners of country
    Key area of work
    Motivation: sense in which design of cities rarely with older people in mind – that planning and development of spaces in our city tend to work with a younger/working age group in mind
    So that the urban environment, that public space between buildings
  • when talk about a-f design = often preconceptions / assumptions as to what a-f design means
    for WHO
    a-f cities design = about developing better buildings and outdoor spaces
    in its documents (and most standard a-f docs) guiding objective = make cities more amenable and accessible to older people
    building on the principle of inclusive design
    A design approach that addresses the needs of all its users, irrespective of age or ability
    Also tied to idea that good a-f design support active and healthy ageing
  • Developing research around age-friendly cities
    That builds on earlier research on age-friendly cities in this area
    Need our own guide to provide a framework for VOP to develop an age-friendly programme that is meaningul, that is aware of research,
  • Within UK Network
  • when talk about a-f design = often preconceptions / assumptions as to what a-f design means
    for WHO
    a-f cities design = about developing better buildings and outdoor spaces
    in its documents (and most standard a-f docs) guiding objective = make cities more amenable and accessible to older people
    building on the principle of inclusive design
    A design approach that addresses the needs of all its users, irrespective of age or ability
    Also tied to idea that good a-f design support active and healthy ageing
  • This kind of thinking = based on problem-solving tradition within design process
    To transform an environment from a resistant (physically obstructive) environment to a supportive (enabling) one
  • For me, what’s partic. inter. = to think about the scale of thinking that accompanies a-f design
    The way in which age-friendly design involves attending to…
    In a sense, design work = as much about making visible and being sensitive to what Sheila Peace has termed this ‘amplification of impact’
  • Put up this slide on design recomms
    That conform to that micro scale but sensitive scale of thinking
    for ease of movement
    to minimise risk of falls
  • take 1 of those recomms….
    You can see that sensitivity necessary in the scale of a-f design too
    considers not only the bare minimum of function and useability (how sittable a bench is) – whether or not it conforms to biomechanical Sit to Stand measures but how desirable (eg. comfortable) a bench is to use - seating that is warm not only functional
  • For me, this kind of sensitivity is key
    Beyond the physical fabric of the material environment
    Beyond the inclusive attempt to make urban spaces more useable / navigable
  • Common mantra
    But untested as an idea
  • In the end, age-friendly design, like design itself can / might mean any no. of things
  • Monitoring and thinking in the long-term about how urban design aspirations / propositions might be maintained over time
  • End with a slide on the two faces of ‘age-friendly Beijing’
    - on the left - designed intervention ‘pensioners’ street playground’
    - on the right an everyday example of an informal way of using, laying claim to a different kind of public space
    Age-friendly design might mean a number of different things
    But for me, when I think about it in the end its basic aim
    How can design support – and challenge - older people to lay claim to their surroundings themselves in older age
  • End with a slide on the two faces of ‘age-friendly Beijing’
    - on the left - designed intervention ‘pensioners’ street playground’
    - on the right an everyday example of an informal way of using, laying claim to a different kind of public space
    Age-friendly design might mean a number of different things
    But for me, when I think about it in the end its basic aim
    How can design support – and challenge - older people to lay claim to their surroundings themselves in older age
  • End with a slide on the two faces of ‘age-friendly Beijing’
    - on the left - designed intervention ‘pensioners’ street playground’
    - on the right an everyday example of an informal way of using, laying claim to a different kind of public space
    Age-friendly design might mean a number of different things
    But for me, when I think about it in the end its basic aim
    How can design support – and challenge - older people to lay claim to their surroundings themselves in older age
  • Introduction: Making Urban Environments Age-Friendly (UK Urban Ageing Consortium) UK Network of Age-Friendly Cities Built Environment Seminar (October 2013)

    1. 1. Making urban environments Age-Friendly (a brief introduction) Sophie Handler Manchester City Council / University of Manchester s.handler@manchester.gov.uk
    2. 2. WHO Age-Friendly movement 2007 WHO Guide to Age-Friendly Cities published 2010 first UK city joins WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities 2013 expansion of Global Network (135 cities across 21 countries). UK Network affiliated.
    3. 3. The eight interrelating domains of an Age-Friendly city 1. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings 2. Transportation 3. Housing 4. Social Participation 5. Respect and Social Inclusion 6. Civic Participation and Employment 7. Communication and Information 8. Community Support and Health Services
    4. 4. What we mean by Age-Friendly ‘Outdoor Spaces and Buildings’
    5. 5. Key concerns Key drivers
    6. 6. WHO checklist of inclusive features • Inclusive Design • Accessible environments • Amenable environments and public facilities • Link to ‘active’ and healthy ageing
    7. 7. Design as ‘problem-solving’ from a ‘resistant’ to a supportive environment • identifying problems, ‘barriers’, needs and concerns • prototyping and designing solutions • design recommendations • implementing design standards
    8. 8. ‘amplification of impact from micro environmental aspects in older age’* The way in which the smallest features of the built environment – ground textures or ‘formerly imperceptible changes in levels’ – can often start to become problematic in older age – in ways that are not so easily felt by others. * Peace et al.
    9. 9. ‘wide and flat tarmac footways’ ‘easy transition at level changes’ ‘easily visible and understandable signage’ ‘frequent, warm, supportive seating’ ‘well maintained, safe and open toilets’* *IDGO Consortium design recommendations
    10. 10. ‘frequent, warm, supportive seating’
    11. 11. Beyond the physical fabric… The less tangible dimension of Outdoor Spaces and Buildings • people’s subjective perceptions of place • acknowledging the relational value of certain kinds of spaces • how a place can affect your sense of identity and sense of self • ways of co-producing, participating in the production of a space • acknowledging conflicts and tensions in the shared use of space
    12. 12. Is age-friendly design friendly for all?
    13. 13. Alternative design responses… or, what is design: a temporary intervention? a standardised feature? a designed object? a participative design process? a solution? another way of looking at things? - and who is the designer?
    14. 14. Creating Age-Friendly spaces > who needs to be engaged and involved? > at what scales? person > street > neighbourhood > city > maintenance over time…
    15. 15. > what would an AgeFriendly park look like?
    16. 16. Growing interest in this area Research funding ESRC Design, Mobility and Wellbeing RIBA Ageing focus for 2014 Emerging forms of practice across the UK Network
    17. 17. Today 1. Learning from existing Age-Friendly practice 2. Sharing different methods and approaches 3. Thinking forward: next steps > actions within Age-Friendly cities > building a collective voice across the UK

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