Using Citizen Science to Explore the Age Friendliness of Cities

Presenter: Dr Helen Barrie, University of South Australia

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About the presentation

Local neighbourhoods and communities impact on older people’s mobility, independence, quality of life and ability to ‘age in place’. Design and delivery of quality public spaces that meet the WHO Age Friendly Guidelines should promote health and wellbeing, social engagement with others, and engagement with the natural environment but little data is currently collected about how older people perceive these spaces within their neighbourhoods and communities, and in fact there is little evaluation of aged friendly cities at all.

Daily experiences, often over long periods of time, mean older residents have intimate first-hand knowledge of their neighbourhood, and thus, may be more qualified than experts to assess the qualities of those spaces. Citizen science led research with older people may provide the key to assessment of the built environment for age friendliness. This presentation will explore results from multiple citizen science projects with older people over the past five years and examine the value of citizen science as a research approach that provides a deeper understanding of the interplay between older people and the built environment.  

About the presenter

Helen Barrie is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion and Director of ‘The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise’ at the University of South Australia. She is also affiliated with the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance, the Life Institute at the University of Ottawa, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society UK, and Life Member and Past President of the Australian Association of Gerontology. Helen has a PhD in geography and a background in social policy. As a social gerontologist and human geographer, Helen’s research has a focus on Australia’s changing and ageing population and the implications of this for society and communities. Much of this work involves an examination of the interaction between older people and the built environment; including age friendly cities, innovative models of housing, community connectedness and social networks, frailty and wellbeing.

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Further information: [email protected]

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