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Age-friendly Cities and Communities Program

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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Age-friendly Cities and Communities are a project promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO), to promote active aging policies that address aging and the different generations, including those of current elderly people.


WHO indicates that cities have to adapt their environment and their services so that older people live safely, maintain their health and participate in the city's life.


The project


It started as a pilot project in 2005, led by Alex Kalache, director of the WHO Lifecycle and Aging Program. During that year and the following one, the practices of 33 cities located in 22 countries of the world were systematically documented.


From the analysis on the information collected and the subsequent discussion, the "Vancouver Protocol" and the "Global age-friendly cities: a guide" were launched, presented on World Day of the Great People 2007.


The Guide is ordered in a set of dimensions, and each one of them provides guidelines for the assessment of the city's conditions. The Guide is a tool of a practical nature to capture the situation of the city - how facilitates and how difficult everyday life is - and make the diagnosis. Once elaborated, the action plan and the indicators are defined. Then the implementation begins.


The project requires the participation of elderly people and local governments. Also the private organizations and providers and local economy agents are involved. On the one hand, it is based on the participation of the elderly in the diagnosis of the conditions of the city and in the later stages of the design and implementation of the action plan. Thus, the bottom-up approach is formulated in the Paradigm of Active Aging.


On the other hand, the project requires the commitment of local government both with regard to the planning of the municipal services as well as its function as a promoter and promoter of cooperation with organizations of all kinds as private providers, eldery associations or any other agents involved on the quality life of elder people.


The project is structured in eight dimensions:


Social and civic participation.

•Mobility and transport.

•Accessibility and use of public and private spaces.

•Housing.

•Social and health services.

•Relations of support and mutual assistance.

•Respect, inequalities and conditions of inclusion.

•Communication and information.

•Planning (1-2 years).

•Implementation (3-5).

•Evaluation of progress (at the end of the 5th year).


Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities


In 2008, the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities was created, which allows inter alia exchanges between member cities among other aspects. San Sebastián was the first city of Spain member of the network and Barcelona was the first of the Catalan cities.


The logic of networking is evident through varied actions, as demonstrated by initiatives of varying scope. In the francophone field, the Francophone Network of Age-friendly Cities, which was created in Dijon in January 2012, which includes 33 French and Québec cities.


In the European sphere, it’s worthy to underline the AFE-INNOVNET project, led by AGE European Platform. With the aim of making Europe an environment that is friendly to the elderly, the project includes among its objectives the strengthening of the Thematic Network, which highlights the role of actors at local and regional level.


Diputació of Barcelona is committed with the improvement of the quality of life its citizens, and focusing special attention to specific groups as women, children or elders. For that reason, Diputació de Barcelona created in 2013 the Age-friendly Cities and Communities Program. This program offers technical assistance offers technical assistance to the town councils that adhere to the Network. The proposed support includes the preparation of the diagnosis and the action plan, the creation of spaces for continuous improvement for those municipalities that are executing the action plan and the support in the evaluation of the project to the three years of initiated the implementation of the action plan.


Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - a public sector citizen-centric, sustainable and fit for the future - supra-local and local level
Award type: submission
Award year: 2019
Project type
Sector: cross-sectoral
Type of activity:
Keywords: Active aging, demographic change, urbanization of the population, participatory and bottom-up process, network, qualitative approach, continuous improvement
Short English description: Diputació of Barcelona is committed with the improvement of the quality of life its citizens, and focusing special attention to specificgroups as women, children or elders. For that reason, Diputació de Barcelona created in 2013 the Age-friendly Cities and Communities Program. This program offers technical assistance offers technical assistance to the town councils that adhere to the Network.
Further information
Organisation: Diputació de Barcelona
Other applicants:
Homepage: https://www.diba.cat/en/web/benestar/ciutats-amigues  ; http://www.ciudadesamigables.imserso.es/ccaa_01/index.htm ; https://www.who.int/ageing/age-friendly-world/en/
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Spain
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Age-friendly Cities and Communities Program (41.39558811328439, 2.1575957536697387)
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