Old age-related stereotypes, inclusion and the development of ‘age appropriate’ neighbourhoods

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The environment in which one lives, i.e. the neighbourhood, can have a strong impact on people's well-being and health. This also applies to older people. The number of older people increases in absolute and relative terms, especially in urban areas, while the lifestyles of older people are becoming more diverse. At the same time studies show that age-appropriate planning of living environments is often influenced by stereotypes. We investigated how 'age-appropriate' living environments are conceived, practiced and lived (based on Lefebvre) and to what extent age-related stereotypes affect these processes. The research methods were interviews and walkthroughs conducted with experts from various planning disciplines as well as with current (aged 70-80) and future (aged 50-60) older people. Furthermore, this article refers to the model “setting-approach”, to discuss the importance of participatory urban and environmental development. The findings show that negative stereotypes predominate. These stereotypes have an impact on the planning processes. In thus, older people are normally excluded from these processes. This has an impact on the quality of the neighbourhood and so this has a potential impact on well-being. For planning-related social work, this means that older people must be involved more in the design of their living environments.
neighbourhood, stereotypes, inclusion, participation, setting-approach