The importance of the local environment in the lives of urban elderly people

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This chapter outlines key issues relating to the role of the environment planning and design for elderly people and their households and the ways in which the environment can promote or deter independent living and provide or reduce risks and hazards. At the micro-scale (the internal environment), considerable attention has been paid to home design, access, maintenance and architectural aspects. The meso-scale, the external environment, comprises the local neighbourhood and is increasingly crucial because of the three factors noted above. It provides local opportunities and constraints by virtue of its physical planning, the range, cost and situation of facilities including open spaces, recreational opportunities, shops, welfare and medical services. Design considerations can affect the segregation of traffic and pedestrians, the integration of transport modes and reduce road traffic accidents involving elderly people. This external environment scale has in general been less well researched but issues of accessibility loom large. Finally, the macro-scale environment, not considered in detail in this paper, involves the wider urban space in which localities are situated. It includes both the physical planning framework and the political economy that dictates in part the resources and financial circumstances of elderly people. Integrated neighbourhood and macro¬scale planning for elderly friendly environments is poorly developed in most societies in part because of the numbers of professions and the public- private sector participants involved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment and ageing : environmental policy, planning and design for elderly people in Hong Kong
PublisherCentre of Urban Planning and Environmental Management, University of Hong Kong
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9789627589143
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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