Informal Public Spaces and Community Building
Edited by Joanne Dolley and Caryl Bosman
Chapter 3: Planning for healthy ageing: how the use of third places contributes to the social health of older populations
In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on creating age-friendly cities to accommodate the changing needs of older people and to promote their overall health and well-being. This chapter focuses on some of the urban planning implications related to maintaining the social health, as a main component of overall health and well-being, of older people. Specifically, we look at the role and accessibility of third places (popular public places where many people go to socialise) in relation to older people living in different neighbourhood built-form patterns, and how these factors impact on the formation of absent, weak and strong social ties. The data draws upon interviews with 54 older people living in different neighbourhood built-form patterns on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Our findings demonstrate the significant role third places have in affording older people opportunities to engage in the social lives of their local communities, thus contributing to their social health and overall well-being. This research supports previous studies relating to the accessibility of amenities by reemphasising the importance of planning for the provision of third places that are conveniently located and easily accessible by older people. The chapter concludes by arguing for the planning of transport and third place interventions in Australia’s sprawling suburban landscapes to allow older people more opportunities to be socially connected.
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