Thanks to a notice from a network connection in Europe last week, once more, here is news to share of another event happening May 9 & 10 in London, in the topic area of what I choose to call Age Inclusive Communities. Organized by the Agile Ageing Alliance in the UK, this two-day event titled Neighbourhoods of the Future will look at a full range of interconnected issues and innovative approaches to improve community design and social systems such as health & home care, housing and infrastructure.
Alas, I won’t be able to attend this event. However, my gravitation to learn from what the UK and European countries are doing in terms of “recoding a longevity society”, is quite strong and always makes for asking – how can their ideas best be adopted in a Canadian version of building neighbourhoods of the future? What is no surprise is that one of the strong threads in this narrative is technology.
In his introduction to the 2017 white paper, Ian Spero – founder of the social enterprise, Agile Ageing Alliance says:
“The convergence of game-changing assistive technologies and big data analytics constitutes a golden opportunity to rethink the outlook for ageing populations, especially in terms of housing. This is the driving force behind Neighbourhoods of the Future, a pan-European collaborative initiative….Central to all of this, I believe, is the importance of a more holistic, collaborative and open approach to research, development and commercialisation.”
While for some people who hear phrases such as agile ageing or longevity society as being only a matter for those who are already older people, (as many I meet often do), the magnitude of all this is truly an inter-generational matter – and it’s happening now – the future is now.
Short of being at the London event in May, if you take the time as I have, to read this Agile Ageing Alliance white paper and others of its kind, you should be convinced as you discover that this is an opportunity area for business and career work options and citizen engagement for community collaborations.
One of the banner lines on the Agile Ageing Alliance website cannot say it better – they are “creating a brighter future for our older selves”. This line mirrors what the concept of age-friendly design and marketing, at its essence, smartly suggests; we are looking at our future-selves when we make policy and investment decisions around housing for example.
While one could argue that longer-life expectancy for future generations is no guarantee, we cannot stand by and assume that, based on current realities and projections, the promise of a longevity society and a larger older population is not going to pan out. The time to plan for an agile population at any age is now. Taking a riff from the Beatles song “you say you want a revolution”, the Neighbourhoods of the Future event in London will be worth following up.