Applying the Right to the City to older persons: the opportunity of the Urban Agenda for the EU

Both demographic shift and urbanisation are major changes our societies are facing. The number of people in the EU aged 65 or over is set to nearly double, from 85 million in 2008 to 151 million in 2060. At the same time, 80% of older people in developed countries already live in urban areas. This means that most of us will grow old in cities.

These changes imply major socio-economical, technological and environmental challenges to be addressed to ensure and further improve the quality of life of all generations while reducing inequalities and combating social exclusion. This is what the "Right to the City" means. In other words, "a city is a collective place which belongs to all its residents and which must offer the necessary conditions for a decent life from a social, political, cultural, economic and environmental point of view".

With the persistent ageism and age stereotypes that prevail in society, the "Right to the City" is particularly important for older persons. Cities have a role to play in fighting such discrimination. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the urban physical and social environments are key determinants of whether people can remain healthy, independent and autonomous long into their old age.

Demographic change impacts a large spectrum of fields, including the provision of adequate and adapted housing, accessible mobility, social inclusion and poverty. The guide by AGE Platform Europe therefore recalls the challenges older persons face when applying their right to the city in 8 out of the 12 themes addressed by the Urban Agenda for the EU: Inclusion of migrants and refugees; Jobs and skills in the local economy; Urban poverty; Housing; Air quality; Urban mobility; Digital transition; and Innovative and responsible public procurement.

By giving key insights on challenges faced by older urban dwellers, the guide invites European Cities to take the opportunity offered by the Urban Agenda for the EU to design their environments in a way that respect our rights as we grow older, allowing us to benefit from our Right to the City all along our life course.

AGE's guide 'Applying the Right to the City to older persons: Seizing the opportunity of the EU Urban Agenda' :