From Norway comes an Age Friendly Handbook that presents information in easy to consume formats. Norway has been driving a universal design agenda through national and local government since 1999. Norway’s key document for this is Norway Universally Designed 2025. This Handbook fits nicely within that framework but with an emphasis on an ageing population. The WHO Age-Friendly Cities guide is useful and detailed, but it’s showing its age. So this handbook comes at a good time.
The Handbook for Age-Friendly Communitiesis 70 pages with many photos and graphics. It covers the key steps in the planning cycle, aspects to consider in built design, transport, housing and social participation. Pre-requisites for age-friendly development are co-creation and communication.
Elements not considered in the WHO guide are plain language, internet use and how to co-create and gather information from older people. Checklists and examples are included. Fortunately the Handbook is in English so many more people can benefit from Norway’s 20 year’s experience. A great resource, particularly for local government.
Alternative to what? you might ask. An Alternative Age-Friendly Handbook, with acknowledgement to the WHO’s work on age-friendly cities, takes a different approach to creating age-friendly urban places and spaces. Focusing on small scale age-friendly urban actions the handbook takes the reader through some useful thinking processes. First, it avoids the language of “apocalyptic demography” where an ageing population is described in terms of disaster and catastrophe. Then it moves on to the participatory approaches that have evolved over the last ten years. “This handbook is, thus, intended for these ‘Other’ urban practitioners who have not, as yet, necessarily engaged with the ‘urban ageing agenda’ and is offered here less as a prescriptive guidance (a how-to on Age-friendliness) and more as a portable reference to inspire critical reflection, action and possible intervention.”
A refreshing presentation of a handbook – not the classic “how to” format. Rather a creative “think about…” While this is from the perspective of older people, much of the thinking and many of the processes apply to all age groups. It looks like a long document, but that is because it is in large print. An easy and engaging read. Published by the University of Manchester Library.