Developing age-friendly cities: a cross-national perspective

The development of what has been termed ‘age-friendly cities’ has become an essential 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 in 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