Growing older in Collyhurst

Growing older in Collyhurst, a site of urban regeneration: a co-research project designing age-friendly social housing.

This research focuses on the proposed Northern Gateway urban regeneration project in the neighbourhood of Collyhurst, North Manchester.

The aim of this project is to organise a series of resident-led co-design workshops focusing on the design of social housing and green spaces in the new Northern Gateway area.

Research builds on an existing interdisciplinary and collaborative network, including; regeneration stakeholders (Manchester City Council Strategic Development and Far East Consortium), residents, social housing providers (Northwards Housing) and age-friendly advocates (the Older People’s Board), which was developed through a previous Seedcorn award (led by Camilla Lewis, 2018-2019).

From a policy perspective, the development of age-friendly communities coincides with new strains affecting community life, notably those associated with widening inequalities within and between cities (Thomese et al. 2018), and polarisation between social groups (Minton, 2006).

To date, there has been limited academic research into the experiences of people ageing in areas affected by environmental pressures linked to urban change and deprivation (Bailey et al. 2012). Further, there is a limited agreement of, or understanding about, what makes an age-friendly or supportive environment for the growing number of people ‘ageing in place’ (Van Dijk et al. 2015; Buffel, et al. 2018).

This project will engage with residents as co-researchers, and make recommendations on how the Northern Gateway should cater to the needs of all generations in relation to housing design and urban regeneration.

Research aims

  1. A systematic review of co-research methodologies for involving ageing populations in urban regeneration projects.
  2. A series of resident-led design workshops in Collyhurst. The workshops would be led by MA students from the Manchester School of Architecture Students.
  3. An age-friendly toolkit including guidance for involving older residents in projects of urban regeneration.
  4. A short briefing associated with the toolkit would be produced, making specific recommendations on how the Northern Gateway can include age-friendly principles in the design of homes and public spaces.
  5. Host a workshop/symposium based on the age-friendly toolkit.
  6. Develop and test co-research design methods to include in a grant application for the ESRC or AHRC study on the Northern Gateway project.

Research Team

  • Sophie Yarker;
  • Camilla Lewis;
  • Mark Hammond;
  • Luciana Lang;
  • Niamh Kavanagh;
  • Chris Phillipson.


  • Centre for Ageing Better;
  • Age-Friendly Manchester.