Mixed-use urban intensification is the key to designing better living for older people, says BDP

Mixed-use urban intensification is the key to designing better living for older people, says BDP

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of interconnections between our housing, the built environment, social inequalities and governance systems while also demonstrating the adaptability and resilience of communities across the world.

While attentions are focused on the present health crisis, this is also a time when resources are being invested heavily in public wellbeing and businesses are pivoting to reinvent themselves in the midst of quickly-changing markets and technological advancements.

As we move towards recovery, global, interdisciplinary design consultancy, BDP has published an independent, design-led report, which provides a framework for supporting the creation of greener, more equitable housing for older people.

The Reimagining Age-Friendly Living report considers how the design of more affordable houses and apartments can meet the physical and mental wellbeing requirements of older people. It reimagines urban centres as mixed-use neighbourhoods that allow people to grow older in a place that is well-connected to cultural, transport, healthcare, and a range of other amenities, creating a better quality of life for people throughout their ‘third’ and ‘fourth’ age.

Adam Park, Associate Architect at BDP explained: “Growth in the number of older people is a global phenomenon. In the UK it is expected that by 2040, the number of people living above the age of 85 will increase by at least 160%. The UK needs at least 30,000 purpose-built age-friendly units every year to meet this demand and only 8000 are being built annually at present.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and as government funding such as the Future High Streets Fund helps revitalise our towns and cities, this new report explores how underutilised sites transformed into vibrant age-friendly housing offer an enormous opportunity to turn our urban centres into inclusive, multi-generational neighbourhoods.

“It also identifies how mixed-use urban intensification strategies create sustainable communities which support local ecosystems for businesses and services. By incorporating age-friendly housing, we are providing older adults with better connected locations in homes where they can ‘age in place’ whilst adding social diversity and economic value to the local areas.”

To download the report visit: https://bit.ly/3saDqpl

A cross-industry steering group and research report was released recently highlighting a significant disparity between public perception and actual offering at retirement housing schemes. More details on that story and link to download the report here.

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