Architects for Urban Aging – 4

City Networks: the Pop Up University. Scenario 5 – 2030; Silver Linings: The Active Third Age and The City. Life long learning isn’t a new thing. Example; if you go back to the 18th century to the Paris salon of Baron d’Holbach you will meet the enlightenment era version of knowledge exchange in the form of conversation, debate and even rivalry.

So the salons or open universities of tomorrow could be your corner pub, your condo meeting room or a networked hub at the local community college or wherever philosophy pop-ups happen. This is such an optimistic vision of the future.

Silver Linings makes reference to the University of the Third Age (U3A); and if you go to the Canadian, UK or other international web site home pages you will get loads of shots showing 50+ third-agers – missing one thing.

Where are the photos that show teenagers and 30 year olds in a “pop-up” learning, futuristic salon with all  these third-agers? Disconnect message here? One headline in the City Networks section of the RIBA report is Inter-generational Knowledge Transfer. This suggests to me that the learning is a multi-directional experience.

The stated complaint may be true to an extent – “76% of older people say… talents and skills they have go unused …wasted by our country”. Yes, but making learning in a generational exchange relevant, includes not just what third-ager wisdom or knowledge goes between themselves or is passed down – it also includes what is passed up and around.

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