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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

An alternative age-friendly handbook

17 November 2014

An Alternative Age-friendly Handbook is a publication written and devised by Sophie Handler in partnership with Age UK, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), The University of Manchester’s Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) and Age-friendly Manchester (Manchester City Council), the UK’s first Age-friendly City.


The idea for this Handbook came out of a policy seminar (‘The Space between Buildings’) hosted by the UK Urban Ageing Consortium on behalf of the UK Network of Age-friendly Cities in October 2013.

The idea, then, was to produce some kind of resource that would encourage the ‘socially engaged urban practitioner’ to bring their creative practice to an emerging field of Age-friendly urban action. This Handbook is the result.

Developed over the course of three months via a series of workshops, the Handbook has drawn on the critical input of: the Population Ageing, Urbanisation and Urban Design Research Unit (based at The University of Manchester), the Age-friendly Manchester Design Group (Manchester City Council), the ‘Tiny Experimental University’ (temporarily based in and around Kilburn, north London), the RIBA’s Research and Innovation Group, the Age UK Research team and an expert Age UK briefing session of invited theorists, policymakers, designers, students and practitioners working on issues around ageing and urbanisation.

The handbook is made up of a series of essays that explore different approaches to age-inclusive practice. From the basic terms of Age-friendly engagement (or, how participation, collaboration and co-design inform Age-friendly urban action), through to broader ideas around ‘borrowing’ time and space (a possible form of ‘age-inclusive’ action?) these essays provide a critical space in which to think about possible forms of Age-friendly urban practice.

Featured projects, illustrating these different approaches range from artists’ residencies, temporary urban interventions, storytelling techniques (small-scale actions) through to neighbourhood-scale urban design projects that have ended up informing city-wide urban policy.

Additional copies of the Handbook are available, on loan, via the RIBA and The University of Manchester libraries.

The production of this handbook has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Impact Acceleration Account Pilot Scheme 2014.

For a copy of this new handbook please follow the link below:

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