Ageing and urban form in Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis

Perez, Joan and Araldi, Alessandro and Bridier, Sébastien and Decoupigny, Fabrice and Fusco, Giovanni and Laperrière, Vincent and Risi, Florian and Trémélo, Marie-Laure; (2022) Ageing and urban form in Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 855-863. ISBN 9781914241161

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The world population is ageing. In France, this phenomenon is particularly pronounced with 19.6% of the population being over 65-year-old in 2018. While it has been recognized that urban form plays an important role in ensuring a sustainable future for urban areas, ageing dynamics are challenging the core concept of urban sustainability. Maintaining or improving the quality of life of an ageing population through urban built form will become as much important, and as much recognized, as ensuring urban environmental sustainability in the future. Today, the well-being of the elderly is still reduced to the economic aspects of the silver economy or to ergonomic aspects in building design. While socio-demographic micro-data on the elderly are available, a comprehensive metropolitan-wide and fine-scale description of the urban forms where seniors live must rely on the latest developments of urban morphometrics. From historic city centres to suburban residential areas, passing through modernist apartment blocks, none of these typical forms seems particularly suited to the needs posed by ageing, which must accommodate accessibility to housing itself and to local shops, health care and services in general. The question of the role of different urban forms over the spatial distribution of the seniors thus arises, as well as the capacity of spatial arrangements to suit the needs and specificities of an ageing population. The case study is a metropolitan area that offers a great heterogeneity of urban forms: Aix- Marseille-Provence, in Southern France. Some areas show over or under-representation of seniors, while others are better at ensuring a generational mix. In most cases, the spatial distribution of the seniors can be linked to specific building hull forms. The spatial distribution of these hull types, and their close relationships to ageing and accessibility are presented in this paper.

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