Silver Linings: The Active Third Age and the City

Silver Linings

The world is ageing. As populations rise, and life expectancy increases, we’re seeing a demographic shift never experienced before in history…

In Britain alone, the population of those over the age of 60 is set to rise over 40 per cent in the next 20 years, 6 times that of those aged under 60.

We are living longer and we are living healthier , a phenomenon that could potentially come to define the future city – one no longer built for the young.

How will our new population change our cities? Will people be able to afford luxury, jet-setting lifestyle in retirement or will extended families living under one roof become the norm? Will high streets find a new lease of life hosting health hubs, child care and universities, revived by the retired, but active Third Age? What could become of our declining coastal towns, if they were re-thought around an Third Age workforce?

In this project Building Futures has explored the potential that an older, but active and engaged cohort could have in shaping our cities. Silver linings: The Active Third Age and the City, invites you to imagine a world in which this group have become the answer to some of our most pressing economic and social challenges and encourages us all to think about the way in which we can harness this incredible new resource to kick start city economies and safeguard urban communities.

It’s now over to the design and construction industry, to Government and policy makers, to students and educators to consider the innovations that will shape the built environment of the future; one that harnesses the vast potential embedded within the active Third Age to deliver a more sustainable, resilient and engaging urban experience – a city for all.

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RIBA Call For Evidence

Following our report, the RIBA has launched a wider call for evidence asking architects, academia and policy makers to help shape a RIBA research focus on ageing over the course of 2014.

How do we ensure that our homes, communities, towns and cities meet the needs of our ageing population? Does the profession have access to the knowledge base that will enable it to respond to the design issues raised by our changing demographics? How can industry and government support standards and best practice in design for older people? How do we support architects and designers to engage fully and creatively with the desires and needs of older people?

We want to map the knowledge landscape and identify the urgent policy areas that architects need to address as they respond to these shifting demographics, before disseminating innovative research and design by those already tacking these issues.

The call for evidence closes on 31 December 2013.

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