New guide helps create urban spaces for older New Zealanders

The Office for Seniors has released a new guide that will help inform the best urban design practices to benefit older people.

The Age friendly urban places guide is a technical resource targeted at local and central government urban planning practice to help improve outcomes for older people, through the design of public places, land use, spatial planning and design.

Office for Seniors Director, Diane Turner, said that making a community age friendly doesn’t just benefit older people- it benefits everyone.

“It means that as people age, they can continue to live the lives they want and stay connected to the people and things that matter to them,” she said.

“Urban places are generally not well designed to meet the needs of older people, and often do not enable older people to participate or be included in public life.

“The urban places guide outlines the practical steps practitioners can take when considering their urban planning and is broken down into four sections: Streets and spaces, Accessibility and movement, and Housing and Community Connections.

“As part of our large work programme for Age friendly we want to educate and inform local and central government about improving urban planning to help improve outcomes for older people. Our urban places guide does just that.”

You can view the Age friendly urban places guide here

As part of the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing 2021 - 2030, making our environments age friendly is a priority action area. Launched at the end of 2020, this collaborative plan is led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and aims to accelerate global efforts to address the needs of our ageing populations. The aim of the Decade is to improve the lives of older people, their families and communities worldwide.

The WHO’s Global Network for Age friendly Cities and Communities also helps to foster this collaboration. It supports over 1,100 member communities in over 40 countries to become age friendly. New Zealand is an affiliate member of this network and Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Nelson and Gore have been accepted as members.