Urban planning for the aging population

Posted on: 30 July 2015


If you are on the local council of an area with an aging population, it's important to contemplate how the aging population may affect the urban planning needs of your area. Here are some potential ways that urban planning can increase the liveability of your area for older residents.

Smooth footpaths and ramps rather than stairs

For elderly residents, uneven surfaces can make it more likely for residents to have stumbles and falls. Smooth paths can make it easier for people to move around the area and get their errands done as well as socialise with friends and family. Urban planners can help by planning public areas for accessibility and creating hubs, which include necessary services such as food shops and medical centres within easy distance of each other and public transport options.

Higher density living

Many elderly residents like to stay in their own home, or appropriately sized independent homes for as long as possible before moving into group care situations. Allowing for higher residential density in your urban planning can help to allow and encourage builders to come up with innovative solutions for small house on small blocks, as well as development of existing blocks with granny flats and other auxiliary accommodation.

Including a traditional nursing home (as well as denser independent living sites) is another way that urban planners can help to make your town an attractive location to residents and build a sense of community. It can often be hard for elderly friends to visit each other and maintain much needed social contact if one of them needs to move a long distance away to stay in a nursing home, particularly if the independent living friends are not still driving.

Parks and the natural environments

As people get older they have more time to enjoy parks and the natural environment, so pleasing and easy to traverse paths around natural parks can be a drawcard for older people to move to an area. Be sure to include benches so that people can stop for meals and playgrounds so that visiting grandchildren have somewhere that they can also enjoy.

Many urban planners are also now including strength training and stretching stations into parks, so that the elderly can incorporate some extra physical training into their days without needing to join a gym.

With an aging population, using urban planning to create an environment that is friendly to the elderly will see your neighbourhood grow and flourish. For more tips or assistance with urban planning, contact companies like Geolink.