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Kavanagh, N., Hammond, M., Lewis, A., 2023.

Co-creating spatial justice in high-rise Natural Occurring Retirement Communities in Hulme, Manchester

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

This paper explores the role that Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) can have on generating spatial justice for older people experiencing disadvantage and social exclusion. Increasing inequality and economic pressures within cities require the need for innovative age-friendly approaches to creating inclusive communities, grounded in equity and democracy. NORCs have emerged, primarily in North America, as an alternative model to specialist housing for older people living in cities, providing integrated services of support clustered around the existing housing accommodation in which older people have always lived, allowing them to age in place. Yet, we argue that the notion of a NORC is contested, with gaps in knowledge relating to how NORCs are developed in diverse, international contexts, particularly when addressing disadvantaged or marginalised communities. The paper focuses on the establishment of a NORC within an existing high-rise social housing tower block in inner-city Manchester (UK), reflecting on the journey that social housing tenants have had working with a housing association in identifying the needs of older tenants living in the block. It sheds light on the challenges and opportunities of developing a NORC in a marginalised community that has experienced waves of spatial injustice, including gentrification, studentification and retrenchment of state services. We consider how the place-based nature of NORCs help them make a unique contribution to addressing specific local conditions of spatial inequality that affect disadvantaged communities of older people, but that doing so requires communities and stakeholders to develop new, transdisciplinary approaches to collaboration.