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Hammond, M., Dempsey, J., Holden, S., White, S., 2023.

Co-producing Age-Friendly Urban Developments: Reflections on collaborative neighbourhood design with health and housing stakeholders

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference
Venue:Norwich, UK
Dates:5/7/2023 - 7/7/2023

Proponents of the WHO Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (AFCC) movement have tended to focus their research and practice on programmes that support older people in established neighbourhoods, with relatively little research into the mechanisms for integrating the AFCC approach into new urban development programmes. In response, this paper reflects on the first phase of the North Manchester Healthy Ageing Innovation Neighbourhood programme, a proposed 400-dwelling community that aims to be an exemplar of age-friendly neighbourhood design, led by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester City Council and developer Bruntwood.

The authors of this paper, based at Manchester School of Architecture, were commissioned to create a new research-led masterplan for the site, articulating a vision for the proposed neighbourhood and how it could foster new innovations in healthy ageing. Based on workshops with 20 professional stakeholders (property developers, housing operators, policy-makers, community stakeholders, clinical staff) we identify the different and shared aspirations of various stakeholders, the potential and limitations of building age-friendly concepts into a new neighbourhood, and the political, economic and architectural challenges to innovative housing and neighbourhood models for older people.

Through this, we argue that age-friendly urban development requires greater involvement from ageing experts from across multiple disciplines (architecture, sociology, geography, ethnography) to support clients to develop a more nuanced understanding of older people. We argue that this is vital in addressing latent spatial ageism within the field of urban development, through which older people remain predominantly conceived either through a medical lens, or not at all.