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42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
Ageing is a lifelong process. But currently the attitudes about ageing and the opportunities for older people are changing. The foreseeable demographic development in the next 30 years provides a challenge to analyse and develop for the expected social and spatial effects of an ageing population. Formerly, the image of ageing included homogeneous portraits of immobile, lonely and frail older people and their activity spaces were mainly concentrated on the neighbourhood environment. In the future, more older people will be healthier, they will live longer, they will be more mobile having their own car, and more time will be available for leisure activities in additional and more distant areas. For urban and regional planning this development contains the following challenges: - The increasing variation within the age groups ranging from very active and mobile lifestyles to uninvolved and immobile lifestyles creates concurrent requirements for urban and regional structures. - The contradiction of restricting the negative impact of car-related environmental effects and supporting a self-reliant mobility of older people - especially in rural areas - cannot be solved with conventional planning methods. - The decentralized accessibility of service and leisure infrastructure is decreasing because of a general tendency of concentration and the 'ageing of the suburbs' meaning the percentage of older people in suburbs is growing. Serving this (sub)urban development is as critical as limiting it. Besides these changes, services and urban infrastructure do not only provide functional but also social qualities (e.g. meeting a neighbour on the way to the grocery). For older people who don't drive a car (any more), mobility is definitely restricted when the possibilities of activity become less accessible. First empirical results from the research project "FRAME - Leisure Mobility of Older People", a cooperation of geographers, psychologists and transportation planners from the Universities of Bonn and Dortmund, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research will be presented. The aim of the project is a concept of a mobility design for leisure activities of older people in consideration of environmental, social and ecological constraints. In the Region of Bonn and the Eifel an analysis will be led focussing on urban, suburban and rural areas. The different spatial frame conditions will be analysed in relation to leisure mobility of older people. So far, the relationship between residential satisfaction, access to a car, transportation behaviour etc. cannot easily be connected to the spatial structure because of the simultaneous impact of social and spatial effects. Causalities are difficult to state: The average use of a car is not only determined by the built environment, but the choice of the housing location was made with the expectation of the constant availability of a car. For the conceptual part it is important to state, that community structures are not only determined by the built environment, but by social, organizational and operative structures as well. Existing social networks are a basis for mobility, because for older people, the question often is whether an accompanying person or a travel companion is available. An adequate design might be an organizational concept to support older people moving to a new home early enough within a short distance. The aim would be for example to maintain the social network and to decrease the distance to infrastructure or public transportation. Urban and regional structures in general are crucial for self-reliant mobility of older people. The structure needs to follow the aim to secure an inspiring environment and to facilitate the daily business getting done even without a car. To ensure quality of life, motivations and reasons for mobility need to be known.
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