Developing age-friendly cities: a cross national perspective

The development of what has been termed ‘age-friendly cities’ has become an important concern for ageing and social policy. By 2017, membership of the World Health Organisation Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities reached 471 cities and 13 affiliated programmes, covering a total of 151 million people worldwide

The implementation of age-friendly policies is taking place in 37 countries and in a variety of contexts, ranging from rural communities in Canada and Ireland, to global cities such as New York and Hong Kong. Despite growing interest in researching the age-friendly movement, very few research studies have used a cross-national perspective.

This doctoral project proposes to address this gap by comparing the development of age-friendly policies in three major urban centres: Brussels, Manchester and Montreal. This study will explore the policy-making process adopted by each city and examine how age friendly developments are perceived by policymakers, researchers, practitioners, and older people. Each case study will be treated independently and analysed from a comparative perspective.

Project objectives

By comparing age-friendly developments in Brussels, Manchester and Montreal, this research aims to achieve four main goals:

  • To describe how cities work towards increasing their level of age-friendliness
  • To identify potential similarities and differences between the three cities
  • To learn more about the challenges and dynamics of urban ageing
  • To provide pointers for policy development in this area

PhD student

Samuèle Rémillard-Boilard MICRA, The University of Manchester


  • Professor Chris Phillipson MICRA, The University of Manchester
  • Dr Tine Buffel MICRA, The University of Manchester


  • Professor Liesbeth De Donder Vrije; Universiteit Brussel
  • Professor Suzanne Garon; Research Centre on Aging, Université de Sherbrooke
  • Paul McGarry; Strategic Lead, Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and Age-Friendly Manchester


  • Doctoral Fellowship Social Sciences 
  • Humanities Research Council of Canada 
  • Overseas Research Scholarship, School of Social Sciences, The University of Manchester 
  • Manchester City Council

Disciplines involved




More information