Making cities more age-friendly
The GRAMPCITY – Moving Smartly Towards Accessible and Inclusive Urban Environments for our Elders project, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, is coordinated at UAlg by José de São José, a researcher at the Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being (CinTurs). Another member of the UAlg team is Carla Amado, a researcher at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics of the University of Algarve (CEFAGE-UAlg). Using a multi-faceted strategy, this project aims to increase knowledge surrounding the mobility of the aged in four Portuguese urban areas: Faro, Coimbra, Aveiro and Lisbon.
In an increasingly urbanised and globalised world, as well as one that is increasingly aged, understanding the process of ageing in urban environments has become vitally important. This includes determining how the elderly move about in their daily lives, what their needs and aspirations are, how they access resources and opportunities, and the difficulties they face.
The Portuguese population is currently the fifth oldest in the world. The country’s population aged 65 and over may even reach 3 million in 2050.
This means cities will increasingly have to adapt to the new demands of a very heterogeneous ageing population with different rhythms, experiences, needs and aspirations. According to José de São José, “More research is needed to explore this heterogeneity on a deeper level.” Making cities “age-friendly” is a goal recognised by the World Health Organisation, which essentially means creating the conditions necessary for older populations to maintain their quality of life. The researcher also hopes that, “The project will contribute to raising awareness and informing (both local and national) authorities of the need to take the mobility of older people into account, especially those who live in urban environments, with a basis on empirical data”.
He believes that, “When building cities that are both more sustainable and more efficient, we cannot forget about the people who live in them – and the people who live in them will increasingly be the elderly.”
José de São José concludes that, “By focusing on the daily lives of older people living in urban environments, on aspects that impact their quality of life, health and access to resources and opportunities, this project essentially corresponds to three of the Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Health, Reduced Inequalities, and Sustainable Cities and Communities.”
José de São José has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology a Master’s in Sociology, a PhD in Sociology and is a researcher for the The University of Algarve’s Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being (CinTurs); Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences at the Nova University