This write up by Debbie Lager (University of Groningen) and Chiara Negrini (Kingston University) is about the ‘Urban and suburban geographies of ageing’ at the recent conference. The session was sponsored by the Urban Geography Research Group (UGRG) and the Geographies of Health Research Group (GHRG) but many of the presentations and areas of discussion are of particular interest to transport geographers interested in mobility and ageing.
The ‘Urban and suburban geographies of ageing’ double session was sponsored by the Urban Geography Research Group and the Geographies of Health Research Group. It was organised by Debbie Lager, Bettina van Hoven (both University of Groningen), Chiara Negrini (Kingston University) and Tim Schwanen (Oxford University). Both slots were well attended and marked a renewed engagement among geographers with the different socio-spatial configurations and inequalities of later life. The session covered a wide range of topics. The first slot brought together geographers engaged with mobilities and immobilities in old age. In particular, it looked at the transport dimension and the experiences of older people in navigating the outdoor environment. The papers in this slot discussed the meaning and accessibility of suburban and retail environments for older people, conflicting discourses around mobility scooters, urban design and older people’s engagement in cycling activities, the experiences of going outdoors after a recent fall and the challenges of suburban ageing. The second slot discussed a variety of issues around (minority) older adults (i.e., ethnicity and sexual orientation) and urban design, in particular housing and spatial distributions of older populations. Through different theoretical and methodological approaches, the papers in this slot highlighted the diversity in the ageing population’s social and spatial practices.