Urban Ageing and Social Exclusion

Social exclusion has been identified as a major issue facing older people. This project aims to overcome gaps in conceptual and empirical knowledge about social exclusion, with particular emphasis on problems facing older people living in urban settings.

The World Health Organization Age-friendly Cities and Communities model has been influential in raising awareness about the need to adapt urban environments to the demands of an ageing population. This mixed methods study examines whether and how the Age-friendly Cities model contributes to tackling social exclusion among older people, The study takes a cross-national approach to identifying new information for policies and practices challenging social exclusion in European cities.

The research will break new ground in the development of a conceptual framework for understanding social exclusion in old age in urban settings.

The project team will engage with a range of academic audiences and research user groups, including policymakers, local organisations and older people.

Work strands

  • Strand 1: Analysis of literature and a comparison of data sets in Ireland, the UK and Belgium;
  • Strand 2: City focus: Dublin, Manchester and Brussels – and the examination of how these World Health Organization ‘Age-Friendly’ cities have responded to the issues faced by those experiencing social exclusion;
  • Strand 3: Carry out participatory projects (including older people as co-researchers) designed to challenge social exclusion, with a particular focus on those that illustrate good practice.

Principal Investigator

Dr Tine Buffel, Sociology, University of Manchester


Professor Chris Phillipson, Sociology and Social Gerontology, The University of Manchester

Professor Dominique Verté, Educational Sciences, Director of the Belgian Ageing Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Dr Christine McGarrigle, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Trinity College Dublin

Academic disciplines involved

Sociology, Demography, Urban Planning, Social Statistics

Funder and funding period

Economic and Social Research Council Future Leaders Scheme, January 2016 to December 2019


email: christopher.phillipson@manchester ac.uk
email: tine.buffel@manchester.ac.uk