European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

#EURegionsWeek UNIVERSITY: Transforming cities into arenas for healthy ageing

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Wed 9, October 2019
09:15 - 10:45
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All Europe is facing the same ageing population challenge. We explore how we link the needs and aspirations of increasingly diverse and unequal older people with the advantages of living in cities which are being transformed by political, environmental and socio-economic forces. This session explores four issues: How should we understand an age-friendly city?  How can business benefit from the longevity economy? How can we challenge the development industry to build better housing? How can we work effectively with older adults as co-researchers and co-designers of policy and place?

Nearly 1-in-5 Europeans is aged 65 or older while, within the older population itself, there is progressive ageing with significant increases in the 80+ group. What does this mean for policy, place makers, industry and communities themselves? This session advocates a bold new vision that challenges the master narratives of the three-stage life and worn-out responses to later life. Research with older people can illuminate the reality of ageing and lead us beyond simply adding them into an existing mix. It can lead to transformed cities that take account of an ageing population in planning for the future; that celebrate and harness the economic, cultural, civic and social roles of older adults, seeing them as capable contributors not needy consumers.

The session, involving three 15-minute presentations and an interactive discussion, will begin by unpacking our understanding of the age-friendly city, considering how cities need to embed policies to tackle socio-spatial inequalities in later life if a good old age is not to be a privilege only for the better off. It moves on to consider the many ways in which older people contribute to the European economy and, drawing on the example of the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing, how higher education may work with business to both tap the ageing market and improve quality of life. The third contribution considers how creative forms of partnership can lead to housing designs that work for everyone rather than seek to segregate in terms of age. Drawing on work in Brussels, the final contribution considers how to develop neighbourhoods that are physically and socially supportive.

Chair: Dr Lucie Vidovicova, Masaryk University, Czech Republic introduces the session and explores the age-friendly city


  • Dr Lynne Corner, Director of Engagement, National Innovation Centre for Ageing, "A wake-up call for business"
  • Rose Gilroy, Professor of Ageing, Planning and Policy, Future Homes Alliance and Newcastle University, "Developing Future Homes"
  • Dominique Verte, Professor of Education Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, "Involving older people in urban planning"
A more socially integrated Europe
Regional Studies Association European Foundation
Building SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre, Room 201 A+201 B.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

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