Ageing in place and the public space | Assessing the suitability of the built environment for elderly people in Kanaleneiland
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As the population of the Netherlands ages the Dutch government is pushing the concept of ageing in place more and more. Ageing in place means people can grow old in their own living environment healthily and happily. The Dutch government wants built environment spaces that are usable and suitable for the activities of elderly residents. This requires assessment on whether and how the built environment is suitable for ageing in place. Using the neighborhood of Kanaleneiland in Utrecht as a case study this work presents a participation-based framework for assessment. Using the theoretical lens of familiarity, the suitability of the built environment is measured using the key factors of diversity and accessibility. To do so, this research gathers data from the residents of the neighborhood on their activity patterns, their frequently visited places, the routes residents take to these places and their opinion of the built environment. Next, these factors are quantified and measured to create a GIS-model that shows what the familiarity of the neighborhood is and consequently whether the built environment is a conduit for activities of the elderly. The results show that participation-based assessment of built environment suitability for elderly people is possible and that the results can be used to improve the ageing in place experience of the current and future elderly population of the Netherlands.