A Place for Me? Enhancing Participation for Older Adults in Town Centre Regeneration Activities

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


Town centres can positively impact the health and wellbeing of local residents. High-quality, functional design can promote healthy, accessible, safe and cohesive local communities. However, older adults are least likely to be considered in urban regeneration or involved in decision-making processes. This is important, as older adults aged over 65 who live in urban areas tend to be most at risk of isolation, loneliness and detrimental health outcomes. This Age UK collaborative project focused on the complex meanings and functional significance of town centre contexts for older adults living in Northampton. A focus was on the meaning that town centre and high street contexts had for participants’ everyday behaviour, with a view to informing local regeneration activities. Using participatory methods, nine older adults aged 70-88 years engaged in a ‘snap and chat’ session while navigating town centre locations with a researcher and a chaperone. Semi-structured photo-elicitation interview questions focused on functional descriptions of community contexts and live behaviour descriptions. Findings were analysed using thematic analysis, providing an insight into participants’ sense of belonging and identity; inclusion and participatory opportunities; access and navigation; perspectives of safety and recommendations for regeneration. This presentation will discuss implications from this research for active ageing and ageing in place, as well as the importance of increased agency and research inclusion for this population. A summary of how this work and future research are influencing town centre regeneration plans will also be provided.
Period5 May 2021
Held atOxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational