Playing & Place: Older Adult Perceptions of Playful Environments in Victoria, B.C.

Cities around the world are experiencing a large demographic shift as significant portions of their population age into older adulthood. As people age, their physical and cognitive worlds can shrink as they are increasingly likely to experience impairment or reduced mobility, leaving older adults vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. Consequently, age-friendly planning has emerged as a critical discourse for interventions to develop enabling environments that can minimize the risks associated with aging.

While preventative measures are important, there is more to inclusive design than caution and access. Built and social environments can instead be designed to actively promote older adult wellbeing—not just minimize risk. Looking at Victoria, BC, Canada’s oldest demographic city as a case study, my research involved conducting a participatory photovoice exercise with older adults to look understand (1) what environments limited their ability to play; and (2) what environments enabled them to play. In this presentation, we will look at some examples of features found in both limiting and enabling built environments to understand how playful spaces can reduce older adult isolation in cities.

SPEAKER: Ellory Vincent, Queen’s University

Policy Proposals for Ageing in Place: Interventions for Successful Ageing in Place in Windsor, Canada & Brescia, Italy (Timestamp 18:40)

The global demographic trend of population ageing presents a challenge for government institutions, urban planners, policy makers and community organizations. Concurrently, ageing in place has emerged in planning discourse, with the potential to support cities in becoming age-friendly environments. This thesis poses the research question: to what extent and how can cities experiencing population ageing use ageing in place as a conceptual planning and policy tool to create the conditions for older adults to age in place successfully? The literature review finds five dichotomies, offering analytical frameworks for the case studies of Windsor, Canada and Brescia, Italy. The case studies describe the existing conditions for ageing in place at three spatial scales: the internal and external characteristics of the home, and the neighbourhood, considering both private owned homes and social housing. The research question is answered in a six-part proposal for ageing in place programs in care, the home and ICT: the Continuum of Care, Neighbourhoods of Care, Green Retrofitting, Adaptable Homes Modifications, Alternative Housing Typologies, and Telemedicine and Social Calls. These proposals offer a framework for cities to implement ageing in place policies according to their unique contexts, and highlight the role of older residents as important community resources.

SPEAKER: Morika DeAngelis, Politecnio di Milano