Can urban living be suitable for older people?

Steven Tolson, Margaret Brown

Research output: Other contribution


Place making is an activity that involves planning, designing and managing public spaces so that people can function well. However, place making should not start as a design activity but begin by having an understanding of people’s cultural practices and interactions in their daily lives. The celebrated place maker, Jan Gehl, has spent a lifetime promoting the importance of recognising how people use their places and how designers should respond by creating the right environment. Gehl’s proposition is that “we shape places and they shape us” which means avoiding ‘top down’ physical and technical approaches and involving the users and owners in place making production,

A good place maker is informed by understanding people’s sense of identity, belonging and behaviour known by sociologists as ‘collective consciousness’ and argued by Patrick Geddes in his ‘Civics’ essays. This understanding of people’s functioning and what binds them together is critical for good place making and planning in general.

With older people making up an increasing proportion of the population and having a reliance on public transport to access services and amenities, it is essential that town centre policies embrace their requirements.
Original languageEnglish
TypeArchitecture & Design Scotland Blog
Media of outputBlog
PublisherArchitecture and Design Scotland
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018


  • Older People
  • Housing
  • Urban living


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