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Population ageing and Urbanisation: Developing Age-Friendly Cities

The World Health Organization (WHO) model of 'age-friendly cities' emphasizes the theme of supportive urban environments for older citizens. These are defined as encouraging 'active ageing' by 'optimising 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 objectives: to build a collaborative research-based network focused on understanding population ageing in the context of urban environment:

  • to develop a research proposal for a cross-national study
  • to provide a systematic review of data sets and other resources of relevance
  • to develop training for early career researchers working on ageing and urban issues.