Participation structures to support the inclusion of older people on the neighbourhood level

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For many older people their own precinct or neighbourhood gains in importance with increasing time spent at home and lower mobility (needs). The precinct stands thus for opportunities of communication and participation. Therefore, senior-friendly or age-integrated planning needs to include thinking about structures of communication and participation in order to support and enable older people taking part in the social life of the precinct and generally. This is what the research project “QuartiersNETZ” (“neighbourhood network”) aims to develop. While the project includes the development and testing of innovative senior-focused technical interaction and communication media, this paper concentrates on the development of participation structures in the precincts. It describes the approach towards the so-called participation models and presents first steps and insights of the ongoing participation process. The paper also includes a discussion about different understandings of participation, with a focus on the views of planners and community workers, and reviews what the differences in understanding mean for the implementation of participation structures on the ground. This includes the balancing act between broad participation and the capacity to act. Furthermore, first ideas on how the established networks could continue after the termination of the project are discussed.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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