Population ageing and Urbanisation: Developing Age-Friendly Cities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Social Sciences

Abstract

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.

Planned Impact

The IPNS collaboration will be of interest to an extensive range of users. A core group of beneficiaries will be urban local authorities involved in developing age-friendly cities. An immediate reference group is the network of cities involved in the World Health Organization (WHO) initiative around building age-friendly cities. This stretches across Europe, Asia and America and includes the involvement of public and private sector bodies and third sector organisations. The Ageing and Life Course Division of the WHO has agreed to support the work of the IPNS and will publicise its activities through its dedicated 'age-friendly cities' website.

The age-friendly theme is strongly supported at a European level, reflecting EU interest in the idea of 'active ageing'. The network will work closely in this regard with Age Platform Europe, a European network bringing together more than 160 organisations representing people aged 50 plus. Age Platform Europe has formally agreed to support the collaboration and to publicise its activities through its own website. The network already respects a unique collaboration between the third Sector, local authorities and the university sector, drawing representatives from major cities (including Berlin, Brussels and Manchester) as well as voluntary bodies working on behalf of older people. The collaboration has strong support from a range of UK-based organizations concerned with older people, in particular AgeUK, the Beth Johnson Foundation, HelpAge International, and the International Longevity Centre. These organisations are especially keen to better understand the impact of urban change on older people together with effective ways of ameliorating associated problems. The network will play an especially important role in this regard in pointing to new ways of researching and developing age-friendly environments within cities.

In the UK, the work of the network will be disseminated through relevant government departments, especially the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department of Health, and the Department for Communities and Local Government. The network will also work closely with Age Action Alliance (supported by the DWP) which brings together a wide group of organisations representing public, voluntary and private bodies. Age Action Alliance has a particular remit to develop a preventative, community-based approach to improving the quality of life of older people suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation. Two of the co-investigators are members of a working group within Age Action Alliance focusing on the development of age-friendly cities.

A key aspiration of the IPNS will be to engage architecture and design professionals and students of architecture in network activities investigating the issues of age-inclusive urban design. Architectural and urban design professionals are both formal and informal partners to the network. The bid has been developed with the assistance of Leach Rose Walker (an internationally recognised architectural practice) with the practice Director Faheem Aftab acting as a supporter of the bid. The UK design council has recently taken over the remit of CABE to provide UK professionals with advice and support in developing inclusive designs and Mr Aftab is both a former member of the CABE inclusion by design panel and part of a group who are building these capacities under the new umbrella of the Design Council. Informal partners also include Buro Happold LLP Engineers and Urban Designers (an internationally recognised practice with in the UK and Germany.). In addition, through the auspices of the Manchester School of Architecture's joint agreement the Network will be supported by both the Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester Architectural Research Centre (MARC) enabling the network to access the facilities of both universities for development and dissemination.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/J019631/1 31/08/2012 31/10/2012 £25,069
ES/J019631/2 Transfer ES/J019631/1 01/11/2012 31/10/2014 £24,845
 
Description The Network contributed to a range of debates and research ideas relating to the development of age-friendly cities and communities. These are summarised in a book arising from the network: Age-Friendly Cities and Communities: A Global Perspective, edited by Buffel, T., Handler, S and Phillipson, C. Bristol: Policy Press
Exploitation Route Researchers involved with the network are contributing to symposia at conferences and have published numerous articles
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description They have been drawn upon and influenced the age-friendly strategy of Manchester City Council as well as local housing associations. Manchester City Council is a member of the World Health Organisation network on age-friendly cities and the research undertaken through the ESRC network on ageing and urbanisation has been disseminated through the City Council and other local authorities and cities involved with the WHO programme. Over the period 2014/2015 members of the International Network on Population Ageing and Urbanisation (IPNS)undertook a number of significant activities with NGOs, local authorities and third sector organisations. Members of the IPNS provided advice to the OECD for their report on 'Ageing in Cities'. Support was also given to the Copenhagen office of the WHO in their preparation of new guidelines for developing age-friendly environments. Dr. Tine Buffel, a member of the IPNS, was successful in her application for an ESRC Future Leaders Award. This will develop some of the work of the IPNS, with a particular focus on developing age-friendly work in socially excluded urban communities. Members of the IPNS were active in work with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), developing ideas about urban design in the context of ageing populations. Members of the IPNS continue to support the work of the UK Network on Urban Ageing, comprising local authorities and third sector organisations, with joint conferences and seminars. During 2017 Chris Phillipson delivered a report to Greater Manchester Combined Authority on age-friendly cities, drawing on the work of the network. This report has been used by GMCA to develop policies on ageing in the region. During 2018, Chris Phillipson and Tine Buffel, along with other colleagues, worked on a case study report for the World Health Organization, examining work on age-friendly issues in 11 cities, all of whom were members of the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. During 2018, Dr. Tine Buffel draw upon members of the IPNS in supporting her application for a European Research Council Starter Grant.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Hallsworth Visiting Professor Award
Amount £4,400 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description Manchester Ageing Hub 
Organisation Manchester City Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Support for events and research collaborations with the Council. The Hub is now a sub-committee of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and with be stimulating research on issues relating to urban ageing across Greater Manchester. The Hub is now contributing to work developing Greater Manchester as an Age-Friendly Region, drawing on ideas and personnel linked with Population Ageing and Urbanisation Network. The Greater Manchester Ageing Conference was held in February 2017 to which the PI gave a plenary paper: 'Developing a Strategy for Age-Friendly Greater Manchester'. The report was based on a placement with Greater Manchester supported by an ESRC Impact Accelerator Award R120465.
Collaborator Contribution Joint research and public engagement activities
Impact Numerous conferences Publications (reported elsewhere) Joint research bids 'Developing a strategy for an age-friendly Greater Manchester: a placement with Greater Manchester Combined Authority'. Successful application for an ESRC Impact Accelerator Award'. Nov 1 2016 to Jan 31 2017 R120465.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Urban Ageing Network 
Organisation Beth Johnson Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Provided research support to the collaboration on recent work around the development of age-friendly cities
Collaborator Contribution Provides links to local authorities and other practitioners interested in age-friendly issues. The collaboration has brought together academics, policy-makers and older people concerned with improving securing more appropriate environments for people 'ageing in place'.
Impact Range of seminars and conferences listed on the collaboration website. A number of outputs have been generated by the collaboration, the most important of which are: Handler, S. (2014) A Research and Evaluation Framework for Age-friendly Cities UK Urban Ageing Consortium in association with Manchester City Council, Keel University, the Beth Johnson Foundation and the University of Manchester http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/ Handler, S (2014) An Alternative Age-Friendly Handbook. The University of Manchester Library http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/
Start Year 2012
 
Description Urban Ageing Network 
Organisation Keele University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided research support to the collaboration on recent work around the development of age-friendly cities
Collaborator Contribution Provides links to local authorities and other practitioners interested in age-friendly issues. The collaboration has brought together academics, policy-makers and older people concerned with improving securing more appropriate environments for people 'ageing in place'.
Impact Range of seminars and conferences listed on the collaboration website. A number of outputs have been generated by the collaboration, the most important of which are: Handler, S. (2014) A Research and Evaluation Framework for Age-friendly Cities UK Urban Ageing Consortium in association with Manchester City Council, Keel University, the Beth Johnson Foundation and the University of Manchester http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/ Handler, S (2014) An Alternative Age-Friendly Handbook. The University of Manchester Library http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/
Start Year 2012
 
Description Urban Ageing Network 
Organisation Manchester City Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Provided research support to the collaboration on recent work around the development of age-friendly cities
Collaborator Contribution Provides links to local authorities and other practitioners interested in age-friendly issues. The collaboration has brought together academics, policy-makers and older people concerned with improving securing more appropriate environments for people 'ageing in place'.
Impact Range of seminars and conferences listed on the collaboration website. A number of outputs have been generated by the collaboration, the most important of which are: Handler, S. (2014) A Research and Evaluation Framework for Age-friendly Cities UK Urban Ageing Consortium in association with Manchester City Council, Keel University, the Beth Johnson Foundation and the University of Manchester http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/ Handler, S (2014) An Alternative Age-Friendly Handbook. The University of Manchester Library http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/
Start Year 2012
 
Description A member of the network - Dr. Tine Buffel - gave a presentation of her work on developing age-friendly communities to the United Nations Committee on Ageing 2015 session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Contribution to member countries of the United Nations thinking about age-friendly issues

Numerous contacts with individuals in member countries of the UN about age-friendly issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Chairing of launch of Organisation of Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on Ageing and Cities (joint with Manchester City Council) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The launch of the report was designed to showcase in OECD cities on developing age-friendly policies.

Strengthened linked with a number of policy-makers and with the OECD
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Development of seminar group on ageing and urbanisation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The seminar series brings together researchers, policy makers and professionals, working in the North-West Region, who are interested in ageing and urbanisation issues. The series is multi-disciplinary including social scientists, architects, local authority workers, and those from the third sector..
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Final conference of the International Network on Population Ageing and Urbanisation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The final conference of the international network explored the theme: 'Urban Futures: How Could Our Ageing Population Shape the Built Environment: Identifying research gaps and design solutions'. The conference was held in Manchester Town Hall in association with Manchester School of Architecture and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The seminar addressed the following questions:
What sort of research is needed in the area of ageing and the built environment?
How can the knowledge developed in academia have a better impact on the design of the built environment?
How can schools of architecture contribute to the design of 'age-friendly cities'
How can older people play a role in the development of good design?
The conference focused on using some of the ideas generated by the international network on population ageing and urbanisation to influence thinking in the field of urban design.

After the conference, members of the international network provided contributions to a subsequent Royal Institute of British Architects seminar which looked at improving the built environment and housing design for older people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Key note address 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Key note conference "Developing age-friendly communities in Canberra", Centre for Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian National University and Council on the Ageing (COTA) Canberra
Continental/International
2016
Presentation title: "How develop age-friendly communities? Perspectives from the City of Manchester" Organisers conference: • Centre for Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian National University • Council on the Ageing (COTA) Canberra 90 attendees including: • Policy stakeholders • Representatives of NGOs • Academics • Older people • Age-Friendly ambassadors • Urban planners • Architects • Public Health practitioners
• Influenced the discussion about how to develop Canberra as an age-friendly city and region • Article in the Canberra Times: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/how-do-we -make-cities-more-age-friendly-20160706-gpzq2d.htm l
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Organisation of Seminar on Building Age-Friendly Cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The purpose of the event was to consider the problems and issues facing cities in adapting to ageing populations. Topics discussed included: Planning for inter-generational cities;
developing life-time homes and neighbourhoods; involving older people in urban design and planning; and supporting diverse groups of older people. The event brought together a range of disciplinary interests and professions. One result of the day has been a successful grant application for a pilot study of the implications of planned regeneration in Manchester for the quality of life of older residents.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Organisation of symposium at the University of Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Organisation of symposium on age-friendly issues with universities in Germany, Finland and Japan. Participants were mainly postgraduate students who visited Manchester to learn more about age-friendly issues. The Symposium built upon contacts gained through the ESRC Population Ageing and Urbanisation Network. Around 25 delegates attended the workshop which received funding from the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Participation in conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Members of the network participated in workshops at the launch of the EU Covenant on Demographic Change, held in Brussels in December, 2015. The meeting brought together a variety of organisations concerned with building age-friendly environments across Europe. Members of the network provided inputs on issues relating to co-production of research with older people, and developing research projects on evaluating age-friendly communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation and discussions with OECD about their report on urbanisation and ageing populations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Contributed to the preparation of OECD report on ageing and urbanisation

Influencing the OECD report as above
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation to International Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to International Symposium: Ageing and Living Environments: What are the challenges for the future? Special day organised as part of a partnership between REIACTIS and the RVAA in parallel with the 5th International REIACTIS conference, held in Lausanne, Switzerland, Feb 10-12 2016. The presentation focused on issues around developing age-friendly environments within the context of pressures and changes affecting global cities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation to audience of professionals and policy-makers on issues relating to age-friendly cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The activity was a lecture to a conference on 'Old Age in the Prague Community'. The event was organised under the auspices of the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The lecture was designed to provide insights for professionals working in Prague about policies on age-friendly issues developing in the UK and in Manchester in particular. The lecture has led to continuing discussions with researchers in Prague and the organisation of further joint seminars: one in the UK at the British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to conference of third sector and workers in the public sector 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The lecture was the opening session of a conference devoted to the theme of building age-friendly communities in Greater Manchester. There were over 100 participants drawn mainly from third sector and policy-related organisations. The event was formally evaluated as having increased understanding of some of the issues and challenges of creating age-friendly communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to researchers and professionals working on age-friendly issues at Newcastle University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sharing of research findings and ideas about future collaborations

Received requests for publications and outputs from work on age-friendly cities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Work with Manchester City Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The work with Manchester City Council involved the development of a research and evaluation guide which could be used in their work to develop Manchester as an age-friendly city.

The publication which resulted from this work has been used by other Local Authorities in the UK to support their work around developing age-friendly cities. It is the produce of widespread discussion with a range of practictioners working for local authorities across the country. These publications can be downloaded on: http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/research/population-ageing/research-activity/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL http://www.micra.manchester.ac.uk/medialibrary/A%20Research%20and%20Evaluation%20Framework%20for%20A...
 
Description Work with Royal Institute of British Architects 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The presentation was to the research committee of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) informing them about the possible impact of ageing poulations and cities and possible implications for urban design and architecture.

After my talk I was invited to present at a RIBA conference on urban design for ageing populations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013